VIC COUNTRY has held on for a win over Western Australia, coming from behind in the first half in an epic arm-wrestle throughout the match. Western Australia came out of the blocks hard and fast, leading for the first half before Vic Country fought their way back to claim a two-point victory after a lacklustre first half. It was a tale of two halves with both sides unable to put out a solid four quarter performance but in the end it was the desperation from Country that just got them over the line.
The first quarter was all Western Australia’s way, with a quick start setting up an early lead as they ran away with no shortage of composure or intensity. Western Australia clearly did their homework, controlling both the footy and the space for majority of the first and denying Country any access to their forward half. WA were not afraid to enter every contest going in hard and laying their body on the line while, clearing the ball with ease from scraps and stoppages relegating the usually classy Country side to chasers with only behinds on the board in the first. Country were well and truly caught on the back foot unable to match the intensity and precision of WA who seemed to be in full control with ball in hand and across the field.
The second term saw WA put another goal on the board within minutes of play restarting, putting Country on the back foot early. Once again Western Australia seemed to have all the momentum and possession, controlling every aspect of the play on their own terms and not allowing Country to steal their thunder. WA used their collective footy smarts to block off the space, denying Country any ability to find free players to run and carry, while they had numbers around the footy to use the ground to their advantage. Country seemed flat at times, not as clean as they could be and giving WA too many opportunities to put their defensive pressure on to intercept a clearing ball down the ground. Some stellar work from Lucy McEvoy seemed to click Country into gear, with the talented and versatile player moving forward and having an immediate impact getting a goal on the board and dragging Country back into the contest.
The third quarter was Country’s comeback quarter, switching it on defensively and giving themselves the leg-up they needed to come into the final term with the best chance at victory. A goal to Isabella Simmons in the opening minutes was all the push they needed to get into the game, while some great setup play saw Country get within one point early in the term. Western Australia seemed sloppier in the third, not allowed as much of the ball despite still having a lot of possession, but with Country back in the game their work ethic had to rise and rise quickly. The half time break did wonders for Vic Country, with the side finding a lot more space inside 50 and finding the ball better outside to lock the footy in their forward half, eventually taking a two point lead into the final change.
The last quarter was chock full of frantic ball and missed opportunities for both teams, with players standing up across the field but unable to get goals on the board, seeing only two behinds conceded for the quarter. The likes of Roxy Roux, Maggie Caris and McEvoy stood up, with Roux taking some spectacular marks credit to her aerial leap and footy smarts while Caris and McEvoy picked up some equally impressive ball off the half back and moving through the midfield, gathering plenty of turnover ball as the footy bounced back and forth between the arcs. While both sides had plenty of opportunity to get on the board, the defensive pressure was high and the final minutes were edge of your seat material with both teams frantic with and around the ball. However it was Country’s second half fight back and momentum that eventually won them the game by only two points.
WESTERN AUSTRALIA 2.3 | 3.4 | 3.4 | 3.5 (23)
VIC COUNTRY 0.3 | 1.4 | 3.6 | 3.7 (25)
WA: M. Morrison, K. Buckley, M. Strom
VC: L. McEvoy, I. Simmons, T. Smith.
WA: M. Bowen, R. Roux, K. Pescud, N. Anderson
VC: L. McEvoy, M. Caris, P. Sheppard, I. Simmons, O. Barber