Rebecca Stower Speaks on the Wildcats Game
Saturday afternoon saw the Panthers first game for the season up at Downlands College. Coming off a Bye in Round 1, we were yet to hit the court and get rid of those dreaded nerves and cobwebs. We had a slow start, with a few unforced errors, I put down to the girls nerves and adrenaline rushes. Once we settled in, I could see this was going to be a great match up if we could settle and play “our game”, and not try to match the pace of the Wildcats.
Defensively, Shay Maloney and Caitlin Skaines took a little while to get their communication sorted in the circle. Being their first game together, we expected this, but both girls worked hard to close the circle and contest the front space. GA Laura Morton was a little problematic for our defenders, as the dominant attacker in the circle with a very unorthodox style of play. 16 Year old Kalei Brighton was injected in at GD in the 2nd quarter, and instantly made her mark on the court with strong dictation and contest of the ball. Defensively, outside the circle, Deidre Murray had an outstanding game with a high number of tips and turnovers. Deidre brings a mongrel element to our team that is needed at this level. At the first time out for the game, I reminded her to be disciplined and not get umpired out of the game.
We had some teething problems through the middle with our mid court line up. Sarah Morton and Britt Mould from Wildcats, were excellent off the line on centre passes and rattled our middies. Ada McKenzie debuted for the Panthers and had an overall consistent match. with a high number of assists. Utilising the rolling sub rule with Jane Herrick and Kendell Ross also proved beneficial to keep fresh legs out there, each player having their own impact on the game.
Khloe Fanning and Kiarah Woodbridge were outstanding throughout the game. They provided a variety of options for the feeders, a moving circle as well as Kiarah on the hold. Kiarah shot at 91% with good volume. 16 Year Old Laura Wilkie also debuted for the Panthers in the last few minutes of the match.
In our post match chat, I said to the girls that has been the best first game of the season in the past couple of years. It was disappointing to see the result blow out to a 15 goal margin, as the girls had worked hard to keep it between 5 and 7 goals for the majority of the game. We came out and won the second quarter, and with the introduction of the Bonus Points system, we have a goal to go out and play every 15 minute quarter working towards the bonus points.
For me as coach, I was very proud of the girls. I could see many of the defensive and attacking structures that we have worked on pre season being implemented throughout the game, and they worked together to discuss and problem solve where it was breaking down. They kept their heads up, worked hard and I really feel that we have have a realistic goal for a top 4 placing this year once we iron out a few issues and build consistency. The training plan for Tuesday night is in place, to prepare to take on Jets next Sunday in Brisbane.