By Daniel Atamian
The Lions finally got to take on the Eastern Devils today after their first meeting was delayed due to a Covid Lockdown putting a temporary halt to the SEWFL competition earlier this year. The long awaited game was a match up many which was circled on many of the teams calendars to see how the “Burgers” would go against one of the competitions power houses.
The first quarter started off with the Lions on the front foot applying good attacking pressure from the opening bounce anywhere there was a contest to win the ball, this was best exemplified by #14 Aleesha Hobbs who showed her hunger for the ball around the contest by stripping the ball out of the hands of an Eastern Devils defender for a handball over top to #2 Teagan Brett who unfortunately could only snap a minor score after a great sequence of play. The Devils would try to send the ball deep for a counter attack however #3 Hanna Fosbrooke would stand tall to grab an intercept mark to slow down any momentum the Devils could try and attain. As much as they tried though it felt like the Devils were winning the ball at will but could not capitalise on their chances as the Lion’s dashing half backs like #22 Mia Muscat would utilise her pace to grab the ball and kick for clearance on a run. Hobbs would continue her aggressive attack on the ball doing everything in her power to keep the ball in the in the Lions forward 50. After what felt like a slog fest in a boxing fight with the ball going back and forth in the middle of the ground with neither team being able to make ground due to neither wanting to let up, the Lions were able to for the ball deep with #21 Teagan Bradley feeding the ball to Brett to have another snap on goal to open up the games major score account and give the Burgers the lead. Looking to make a quick amends on the scoreboard, the Devils tried to get a score of their own but the Coburg defenders would not let up with #30 Dacia Abela applying great pressure and clearing the ball out of the defensive half. Eastern had a chance to cut the lead to one with a free kick but were only able to manage a point for the Lions to hold onto a 6 point lead going into the second term.
The start of the second term went Coburg’s way coming out strong in the ruck contest leading to the ball being driven deep into the Lions attacking end of the ground. Hobbs not missing a step from the first quarter came out attacking the loose ball for a goal, the pressure was on for the Devils who started to pick up their intensity as they were down by 2 goals, managing to receive a free kick from the forward pocket to cut the Burgers lead back to one goal but were unable to convert, leading the Lions moving the ball quickly from their back line to Fosbrooke on the wing down to their forward line with #10 Jaime Nankiville. Ready to attack at goal, Nankiville would instead defer the kick to #42 Anna Morrow for the centred kick in front of goal. Unfortunately for Morrow her kick fell short on the line and The Devils were able to clear the ball out of their danger zone. Standing tall on the defensive side of the game was Lions captain #11 Maddie Edwards getting a smother and Debutant #20 Lauren Szigeti who a strong intercept mark halting Easterns strong attack forward, but non stood taller in a 10 minute span of Devils attacking football than #15 Amy Mitchener applying pressure; on the Devils #1 Olivia Aing, chasing Aing who kicked the football in an open square to clip the post padding. Eastern would make amends for this miss with #78 Kaitlyn Carew would take a contested mark and convert on the score board for the Devils first major score and cut the Lions lead to 3 points. They would try to attack again but #4 Jenna Richardson would intercept a mark and put a stop to a last second Devils surge at goal before the siren for half time.
Going into the third term the Lions were caught on the back foot as the Devils kicked a goal from #78 Carew to give them the lead. The Lions would try to push the ball forward as #5 Lauren Sims would get the ball to #12 Sophie Damon to have a shot on goal, but the backline of the Devils defence would not allow for the Lions to try and pull away with a bigger lead and would get a hand on the ball as it went across the line for a touched behind and minor score. After another contest that seemed to be stuck in the middle of the ground again the Burgers finally found an opening to break through into their forward 50 again with the Coburg midfield able to feed the ball to Brett for a contested mark. As she started to line up for goal, a sprinting Bradley from the interchange found some space to receive a pass from Brett and line up for a shot on goal, making the most of her opportunity Bradley would convert for a major score and take the lead back for the Lions. After another hard contested battle in the middle Damon would get the ball to #1 Simone Craige who would launch the ball into the Lions forward 50 with a massive bomb of a kick which somehow to the bewilderment of everybody; including Craige, bounced and dribbled it’s way through for a goal giving the Burgers a bit more breathing room with their lead. Muscat and Szigeti would continue their impressive work and form clearing the ball from half back any time the ball would go into the Lions defensive half to ensure the battle for ball possession would remain and end see out the quarter in the middle.
Entering the final quarter the intensity of the Devils did not diminish as they continued to push forward but plans of trying to run the ball freely in their forward 50 were squashed as Richardson would come up with a massive tackle to receive a free kick. However the Devils managed to get a player loose out the back as #39 Allison Dowler kicked a goal after a contest in the middle of the ground led to her to run into an open goal square, She would attempt to back up her goal with another but would come up short. Dowler would make amends for her miss though as she would feed the ball with a kick to #84 Nicole Price for a shot on goal. Down on the scoreboard the Lions would push the ball forward with Damon able to soccer the ball off the ground for a goal to reclaim a Lions lead, the celebrations were short lived as the Devils #16 Shelley Beggs was able to slip unnoticed to the back of a contest to receive a handball and kick a goal uncontested to take the lead back for the Devils. Despite the last minute efforts of Muscat, Richardson and Brett to get one last goal in to win the game for the Lions before the siren it was the Devils who ultimately were able to hold out until the final siren to claim a 3 point win over the Lions.
Coburg: 1.1.(7) | 2.2.(14) | 4.3(27) | 5.3.(33)
Eastern Devils: 0.1.(1) | 1.5.(11) | 2.6.(18) | 5.7.(37)
T. Brett, A. Hobbs, T, Bradley, S. Craige & S. Damon