A FIVE-goal haul to Geelong Falcons’ Lucy McEvoy highlighted a fantastic 56-point win over Queensland in the first game at Metricon Stadium today. McEvoy booted all five goals within the space of a combined three minutes, with three goals scored in the second quarter within two minutes, then back-to-back goals in the fourth term in just a minute.
It was Gippsland Power’s Tyla Hanks who got Country on the board with a great running goal in the fourth minute to hand the Country side an early lead. For Queensland, Ellie Hampson and Kitara Farrar were working hard and rebounding out of defence. Midway through the first term, Queensland responded through Dee Heslop, with Natalie Grider unlucky not to kick a second Queensland goal from a set shot. Moments later, Heslop almost had her second, pouncing on a loose ball and having a powerful shot on goal but it just missed. Emily Haeusler and Denby Taylor were good out of defence for the Country side early, while Rene Caris was strong in the ruck. Both teams headed to quarter time at 1.2 (8).
The second term started with a number of highlights including a bone-crunching tackle from Zimmorlei Farquharson and great running out of the back 50 from Farrar. It was Murray Bushrangers’ small Julia Harvey who had the first opportunity, running into an opening goal and nailing it perfectly to put Country seven points up a few minutes in. Country were relentlessly attacking inside their forward 50, but Queensland were holding up well. Sophie Van De Heuvel had a chance from the pocket after a great tackle to dispossess, as did Shelley Heath on the run, but both could not quite get it through the big sticks. Enter Lucy McEvoy. The Geelong Falcons utility found space, and her range to convert the set shot from 35m out, then less than a minute later made it two with an amazing shot from the boundary that sailed through. Then if that was not enough, she outmarked her opponent and kicked a third in just two minutes. While the defensive efforts of Farquharson, Grider and Lily Postlethwaite were halting the visitors, McEvoy proved the difference in the second term to blow the lead out to 27 points at the main break.
While she was not on the end of it early in the third term, it was the work from McEvoy to win the contested ball, stand up in the tackle and give off the handball to a running Harvey who kicked the easiest of goals from the goal square, her second of the match. The defensive partnership of Hampson and Brooke Randall was working well in keeping the pressure high, while Postlethwaite and Farquharson was massive in the middle. Despite their best efforts, it was Vic Country who continued to attack and it was Rene Caris who bent the ball around her body and delivered a great bouncing goal of Country’s second of the third term at the 12-minute mark. It was the last score of the quarter and Country held a very comfortable 39-point advantage at the final break, a score that was arguably not reflective of the game play. While Country controlled the contest, Queensland was holding its own in the one-on-one contests. Rebecca Webster was huge for Country in the term, leading the way through the middle, while Nina Morrison continued to have the ball on a string. Caris’ second efforts were noticeable as she matched it with the taller Bella around the ground and went forward to have an impact.
Both sides were switched on in the final term with Farquharson taking a strong grab off a good vertical leap, her shot just missed, but the home team continued to push. Bella Dawes was getting involved, while for Country, Jordyn Allen was rebounding out of defence and Harvey continued to evade her opponents with good agility. Tori Groves-Little had a real opportunity for goal, but her shot was marked on the defensive last line. Country had a brilliant end-to-end play with Lauren Butler delivering the ball inside 50 to Hanks on the lead. Her set shot missed to the right, however. Olivia Purcell continued to be important for Country, winning a free, and her work led to another goal to her Geelong Falcons teammate. A long kick to the square saw McEvoy rise up and clunk a grab off two bites, then run around and snap her fourth. Then moments later as if the crowd needed a sense of deja vu from the first term, Hanks sprinted out of the middle from a centre clearance and delivered it inside 50 where McEvoy grabbed it and drilled her fifth – again in the space a minute. Not long after, Morrison took advantage of some space and booted another for Country with a minute remaining and the visitors were going to celebrate a terrific victory.
QUEENSLAND 1.2 | 1.2 | 1.3 | 1.5 (11)
VIC COUNTRY 1.2 | 5.5 | 7.6 | 10.7 (67)
Queensland: Dee Heslop.
Vic Country: Lucy McEvoy 5, Julia Harvey 2, Tyla Hanks, Rene Caris, Nina Morrison.
Queensland: Zimmorlei Farquharson, Ellie Hampson, Lily Postlethwaite, Kitara Farrar, Natalie Grider, Dee Heslop.
Vic Country: Lucy McEvoy, Nina Morrison, Rebecca Webster, Julia Harvey, Rene Caris, Olivia Purcell.