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Go figure


With final scores for both Women’s squads looking more like what you’d expect from a soccer match, you’d think the Roy Girls were totally outclassed and uncompetitive in their first games of the home and away season.

Actually, that’s so far from the truth it’s not funny.

Playing up in the Premier ranks against Kew, one of last season’s grand finalists, moveover at their home ground and on their 10th anniversary, it was never going to be easy. And no one – coaches, players or supporters – thought it would be.

The Twos didn’t trouble the scoreboard, but they continued to trouble the opposition, never dropping their heads and making an honest contest of it. In an all-game team performance, Rhia Sgarbi was valiant in the ruck, getting great support around the ground from the likes of Elyse Campbell, Courtney Sombekke and Aspen Wagner. And in her first appearance, Zoe Mikosza was truly impressive playing through the ruck and flanks.

Coach Jason was upbeat at each break, congratulating the girls for their tenacious tackling and overall endeavour. Like his charges, his was an impressive first performance as a Fitzroy coach, with his inspired move of Liz Olney to the backline for the second half paying off beautifully and resulting in repeated long strong kicking back into the centre.

With a final score remaining as it was at the beginning but with heads held high, the scene was set for the Seniors. Sadly, even after another four quarters, the scorers remained untroubled by the end of play. But as with their team mates in the Twos, the Senior Roys were impressive in endeavour and ferocity, tackling hard all game and earning the coach’s praise.

“Your first 10 minutes were red hot,” Nathan said at the huddle, “the scoreboard just doesn’t reflect it.” This message was emphasised at each break thereafter, his encouragement not waning, nor his admiration for the team spirit and effort.

“I’m confident you’ll learn from this, learn from a really good footy side, knowing you’ve been really really competitive.”

In what was an all-round team performance, some standout efforts of note were provided by senior Seniors Gina Bennett, Sarah Lynas and Mia Sutherland, along with newcomers Olive Nicholson, Eliza James and Simone Mooney. But as the coach also said, this was an even team performance played with spirit and unrelenting effort.

Both Roys Women’s teams are marked by a fabulous combination of seasoned seniors, inspiring youngsters and talented recruits. In a now-characteristic comradery engendered last season, first gamers were presented their guernseys on Saturday: Mia Sutherland to Eliza James; Lauren ‘Jacky Fowler’ Atkinson to Robyn Randell; Steph Pitt to Madi De Bondt; Captain Cass Blake to Sunday Brisbane; Lucy ‘LJ’ Kerr to the U16 she coached at the Juniors, Olive Nicholson and Jade Williams; Tess Young to Sarah Yule; Gina Bennett to Lily Prowse-McEown; and Lex Madden to Simone Mooney.

So without registering a score across the full eight quarters, it’s probably hard to believe this scribe’s positive reflection on the Roy Girls’ performances. In my defence I’ll proffer just two observations heard on the ground, one from a Roys supporter who reckoned it was the best game he’d seen the Seniors play, and one from a Kew player who, looking up at the scoreboard expressed surprise, saying “s…t that was really hard!”

Keep it up Roygirls, positive results will definitely follow.

JG Gorilla

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