Written by Jarryd Barca
The Calder Cannons NAB League Girls have two teams hot on their heels on the ladder after being overrun by an eager Eastern Ranges side on the weekend.
The momentum in the four-point thriller ebbed and flowed at Bayswater Oval with the Ranges putting their noses in front with just seconds remaining.
The 4.5 (29) to 3.7 (25) result means the Cannons remain in third position behind the Geelong Falcons and Northern Knights, with the Bendigo Pioneers and Ranges now breathing down their neck on equal points.
No team in the Under 18 girls competition has recorded more scoring shots than the Cannons when they’ve met them in the opening six rounds, despite their two losses – inaccuracy the common catalyst in their defeats.
“They didn’t play too badly at all. We started off well, however we couldn’t convert in front of goal and in the end inaccuracy cost us,” Female Talent Coordinator Russell Humphrey said.
“At times our ball movement was really good but our defensive transition was a bit too slow, giving Eastern the opportunity to score easier than we could at times.”
Tahlia Gillard’s sole goal in the first quarter was enough to give the Cannons the lead at the first break, but with the scores locked at 0.1 to 1.4 the Ranges remained heavily in the contest.
Cannons youngster Georgie Prespakis extended the lead with an early goal in the second term, but the Ranges eventually woke from their slumber to boot four of the final five goals of the match and emerge with the four points.
Two of those goals came directly after Prespakis’ major, while one was a standalone six-pointer in the third term which subsequently put the Ranges five points in front at three-quarter time.
Emelia Yassir all but sealed the deal for Calder when she put her side in front in the final stanza, but a goal to Eastern’s Tess Flintoff with 43 seconds remaining meant the victory was indeed snatched at the jaws of defeat.
“I thought Flick (Felicity) Theodore and (Zoe) Hardiman played really well,” Humphrey lauded.
“Our bottom age players again contributed throughout the whole day and continue to show signs which is very promising, it was really good to see the continual improvement from Kasey Lennox, Neve Crowley and Tahlia Gillard.
“It was a disappointing loss but it’s not the end of the world at all. We look forward to the game against Geelong on April 28,” he added.
“It’s going to be a challenge for our girls to come up against a Geelong side that has had a big run of success over the past few seasons.
“If we play our Cannons brand of football we’ll give Geelong a run for their money.”
The Futures girls program also finished on Sunday against Eastern, with the girls recording a win-loss ration of 1-2 over the three-week program.
The girls went down 7.7 (49) to 4.3 (27) but showed major signs of improvement after matches against the GWV Rebels and Oakleigh Chargers as well.
Alisa Magri kicked two goals in the contest, while Zoe Penno – her first ever goal – and Brooke Byron scored one each.
“The improvement of the girls over the 13-week program is a credit to the hard work and commitment of both players and coaches,” Humphrey said.
“Massive thanks go out to the parents for bringing their girls to both training and games.”