Written by Jarryd Barca
The Calder Cannons Under 18 Girls have won three matches in as many weeks to kick-off their 2019 NAB League campaign in superb fashion.
The first-round 27-point win over the Western Jets was backed up by an eye-capturing 58-point win over the GWV Rebels at MARS Stadium in Round 2 – where rising star Georgie Prespakis booted seven goals.
But the come-from-behind win against the Sandringham Dragons on Saturday means the Cannons remain one of three undefeated teams in the early stages of the year, sitting just behind the top-of-the-table Geelong Falcons on percentage.
Girls manager Russell Humphrey puts the strong start down to an even contribution from the whole team.
“Everyone is working really well together, all of the girls are really buying in and understanding their roles and because of that the results are looking after itself,” he said.
Sandringham kicked the only goal of the first half in tough conditions on the weekend, before the Cannons put through four majors – three of which coming in the final stanza.
“In the first half on the weekend we went away from that ‘playing as a team’ style but the second half we were sharing it better and the players were definitely doing better things,” Humphrey said.
“I’ve just been really impressed with the whole team effort. Everyone is doing something on every game day and contributing to the results that we’re seeing.
“In particular, we’ve seen very consistent performances over the weeks from Emelia Yassir, Krstel Petrevski, Georgie Prespakis and Laura Cocomello.”
Head coach Paul Tilley said while he’s impressed with the fast start in 2019, it doesn’t surprise him.
Calder won just two games in 2018 in Tilley’s first season at the helm.
“About three games into last season we probably weren’t where we wanted to be, so we took everything back to basics,” Tilley told nableague.com.au.
“We worked hard on teaching the players the basics in terms of skills and knowledge of the game, and I think that was reflected in the last few games of 2018.
“This season has just been a carry-on from that.
“We were lacklustre early (against Sandringham), but the girls realised that if they wanted to win the game, they had to start doing what they knew and sticking to the game plan – which they did.
“We had players like our captain Georgia Patrikios, Georgie Prespakis and Gloria Elarmaly who took the game into their hands and that’s where it started. Krstel Petrevski was a great performer again for us and then you had girls like Laura Cocomello, Felicity Theodore and Emelia Yassir, but the game was won across the board with all of them putting in an even performance.”
The girls will look to make it four wins on the trot when they host the seventh-placed Oakleigh Chargers at Highgate Recreation Reserve this Sunday.
Despite winning just one match from three attempts, the Chargers have recorded the fourth highest points as a total aggregate in the competition.
“We’re really looking forward to another challenge, they’re a quality side and we know we have to start a lot better than our last game against Sandringham. We can’t start slowly,” Humphrey said.J