Plenty of positives for Eagles Women
Well the result wasn’t what we wanted going down 22 – 50 against Royals but there were a few positives to take away from the match. We can match it with these guys but in defence we need to number up better and watch our line spacing so that we don’t leave holes in the defensive line. We also need to work on our fitness so that we still have oxygen going to our brains late in the game and we can make better decisions.
It didn’t take too long for the scoring to begin when 2 minutes in we didn’t number up on our left for Royals to scored 10m from our left-hand sideline. This wasn’t converted so 0 – 5.
Play continued and at 5 minutes into the match Royals knocked on and we packed a scrum. The girls destroyed the Royals scrum and their coach called for uncontested scrums, despite having a Wallaroo with 4 World Cups experience in their front row. Hmmmm, very frustrating and something needs to be sorted out with this tactic being used by teams to remove an aspect of the game that they don’t have dominance. We have never called for uncontested scrums in the 3 years I have been coaching, despite having low numbers and rarely enough for 15 aside (let along a regular front row).
At 7 minutes we pressured Royals into making a mistake and off the ensuing scrum Sammie “Woody” Wood (we have 3 Samantha’s so need to nickname them) chip kicked from just to the right of the posts over to the left, chased and dove on the ball to score about 10m from the left hand touchline. Unconverted it was now 5 -5. After a glut of penalties and possession, Royals then scored 3 converted tries that went unanswered until just before halftime when Courtney Smith went on one of her rampages (one of many during the game) of the right of a ruck, burst through a couple of defenders to reach out and score about 15m in from the right-hand sideline. This was unconverted and we went in for oranges at 10-26 down.
The 2nd half shallow kick off to the left had a good chase from Ari Glass. The ensuing pressure at the ruck led to a turn over. The ball got passed to “Sammy” Chikirov who ran into contact with a couple of Royals defenders, she offloaded to Woody who ran a bit and then when it was closing down, did another kick and chase down the left. A good chase saw a ruck form about 3m out from the Royals try line and then Ari Glass went in for a 5 pointer! This wasn’t converted so the score was now 15 – 26 for Royals.
Royals then had a fair bit of possession stripping our ball runners of the ball repeatedly. This fatigued the girls and resulted gaps appearing around the ruck and Royals scoring 4 tries with 3 conversions in the next 24 minutes to take a commanding 15 – 50 lead.
But the girls never gave up and showed some great work and heart. Maggie “The Hangover” Downs tackled well and bossed a couple of rucks really well (particularly for a little thing) to turn over the ball for us and relieve some pressure.
Sophie “Tricky” Tricolas (our version of “the Axe”) stopped 3 certain tries from fullback with a great one on one defensive effort. Well done Tricky!
At full time, a sustained drive because of the “never say die” attitude now being displayed by the girls, resulted in Sammy Chikirov scoring. The conversion was made and the final score was 22-50.
Vikki Fischer, our veteran “spiritual mother”, played really well pestering the Royals ruck all over the park and tackling them all day long too. Her effort earned her 3 points. Sophie Lambie had probably her best game to date. She had some great charges into the opposition and tackled all day long. Her effort got her 2 points. Sammy Chikirov with her robust defence and running got 1 point.
Other performances of note were :
Woody bustled, ran and tackled herself to a standstill (one very good 1st half tackle on Louise Burrows, in particular, earning Woody Louise Burrows ire) and left nothing in the tank.
Jess Howard pulled off a couple of good hits and runs to earn her spot this week.
Courtney Smith who smashed a couple of Royals girls when they were silly enough to run when they were in her target zone! A few blockbusting runs were rewarded with a try too.
Ari Glass stepped into the halfback role and had her best game to date too. She ended up scoring a try and doing some good things around the park.
So girls we are nearly there and just need to train a little harder and more consistently to turn these matches into wins. We have to turn up to train regularly and hard (despite the tiredness, things happening etc) and we’ll turn this around into a top team. We have the “bones” for it girls. We just need to work on it.
The next couple of Saturdays are off from games but we will be training to maintain match fitness instead. See you there!