A four-goal performance from Murray Bushrangers’ key forward Olivia Barber, and an impressive game across the board from Country captain Lucy McEvoy has seen Vic Country knock off Queensland in a scrappy but strong start to Round 2 of the AFLW Under 18 Championships. Country came into their match against the hosts, Queensland in wet conditions, beating the home side by 42 points following a four goals to zero first half.
With conditions making it hard to take clean possession of the footy, Country prevailed credit to their ability to use the ball in the messy conditions. An early goal from Barber saw the side gain confidence before a clearing kick over the contest from McEvoy saw Barber soccer off the turf for her second not long after. McEvoy seemed to be everywhere around the contest, racking up 24 disposals, six tackles and four inside 50s, aided well by Luka Lesosky-Hay with 20 disposals, six clearances and five tackles. Meanwhile Queensland seemed to struggle early, unable to find their forward half as Country piled onto every ball.
The second quarter saw Queensland find some better space to drive inside 50 but were unable to have much of an impact on the scoreboard, not finding much connection to link their midfielders and forwards against the pressing defence of Country across the field. While the hosts stood their ground well defensively, Country were able to extend the lead courtesy of repeated intercept marks in their forward 50. Half time saw Country extend the lead to 27 points, with Renee Saulitis finding some good space to snap around the body early, while Barber got her third on the board moments before the siren.
Zimmorlei Farquharson was in among it for Queensland, putting a goal on the board in the third and pairing well with the likes of Daisy D’Arcy who opened up the ledger for the hosts after a flat first half. The third quarter saw Queensland take back some control, with both sides kicking two goals apiece as the intensity lifted. The hosts opened up some opportunities after half time, fighting their way into the contest with some strong bodywork and finding better space through the midfield to get forward. With better entries inside 50 it looked like they were drawing back some momentum but were ultimately unable to capitalise, seeing the hosts remain 30 points down with 15 minutes to go. Serene Watson (21 disposals, three marks, seven rebounds) and Lily Postlethwaite (18 disposals, four marks, three clearances) racked up the touches in a contest that saw Vic Country dominate at every turn.
Queensland put in the hard yards in the final term, producing some fantastic passages of play but missing the polish the Victorian side had. While the hosts were missing fight in the first half, they made up for it in droves late in the match. Despite trailing by 30 points with five mins left on the clock, they fought like they had a comeback on their hands and put Vic Country through their paces. But a dominant final term from McEvoy all but sealed the deal for Country, combining with Barber to put three goals on the board and cement a convincing 42 point win.
QUEENSLAND 0.0 | 0.1 | 2.1 | 3.1 (19)
VIC COUNTRY 2.1 | 4.4 | 6.7 | 9.7 (61)
QLD: T. Smith, D. D’Arcy, Z. Farquharson.
VC: O. Barber 4, L. McEvoy 2, R. Saulitis, I. Simmonds, D. Moloney.
QLD: S. Watson, L. Postlethwaite, E. Hampson, E. Zanker-Close, K. Whap-Farrar, I. Dawes
VC: L. McEvoy, O. Barber, S. Molan, D. Moloney, T. Smith, L. Lesosky-Hay