Eastern Allies strong in defeat to Queensland
The Eastern Allies ran out onto the Bond University turf today with a resolve to play to their strengths.
Taking on Queensland in their final match of the 2018 NAB AFL Women’s Under-18s Championships, in the first quarter, they did just that.
It was all Queensland in the opening minutes with the ball hanging inside their forward-50, however the Allies’ defence stood strong.
While the run of early play was all the home side’s way, a good passage would see the ball within goaling distance of the Eastern Allies. A free kick to Queanbeyan’s Alexia Hamilton for a high-tackle, would soon have the visitors in front.
Queensland would hit back, but by the time the quarter-time siren blew, the Allies were in front by four-points due to another goal from Hamilton – who took what has since been dubbed the ‘Mark of the Championships’ at the top of the goal square to get there.
The second-quarter saw a Queensland comeback. They kicked two goals and two behinds for the term, despite some stellar work from the Allies.
UNSW Eastern Suburbs’ Senna Gulden was big in the forward line, outsmarting her opponent with quick leads. Tasmania’s Priscilla Odwogo was also playing her best game of the Championships in defence.
Thurgoona’s Alyce Parker took the Eastern Allies’ first shot on goal for the quarter, but it would swing left of centre. But as Parker does, the midfielder followed it straight up with a strong spoil from the Queensland kick-in, making things tough for team in maroon.
Queensland had the Allies under the thumb early, but would not kick a goal until well into the quarter. It was all the Allies as the half-time siren beckoned, but the Queenslanders would strike a cruel blow to undo all their hard work, with a free kick sailing through the Queensland goals. The home side went into the sheds with an eight-point lead
At half-time, Eastern Allies Coach, Alicia Eva implored her Allies to work for the success that they deserved after a big week together.
Tasmania’s Netty Garlo was prominent again in the third, smothering what could have been another Queensland goal. Fifteen-year-old Garlo had performed extremely well all week for an inexperienced player, and topped the Eastern Allies tackle account for the game with eight to her name.
A controversial call on the Allies’ goal line would not go their way, leaving them under the pump as Queensland kicked truly at the other end. At the final break, they were up by 11 points.
The last term was a hard slog. Parker was thrown on ball and Hamilton rolled into the midfield to try and turn the game on its head.
Unfortunately for the Allies, they just couldn’t find the goals, while Queensland would score the last for the game, meaning they took home the victory by 17 points.
Allies Coach Eva, said she was proud of her players’ resolve to trust their instincts.
“I asked all the girls to bring their strengths today,” said Eva.
“I guess the messaging behind it was that we all have individual strengths that we bring to the table, and it would be really important that we played with conviction and back those strengths in. I thought we did that really well.
“Again, we had plenty of scoring opportunities, we just needed to tidy up a bit in front of goal.
“It was a really tough game, and we almost reached out target of 60 tackles, so I was really proud of how the girls played.
Among the best players for the Eastern Allies were Alice Mitchell, Mia King and Odwogo, as well as a few of the usual suspects.
“Alyce Parker was again really dominant in the midfield, even running with somewhat of a tag.
“Lexi Hamilton provided a great target up forward for us in the first half and then we moved her into the midfield, showing again that she is very versatile.
“I was really impressed with Netty Garlo. She had a big job down back and gave us plenty of run going inside our forward half of the ground.”
Parker was named the Eastern Allies MVP for the Championships after a week to remember.
Adding to her long list of credentials in a young career, Parker would also join Hamilton, King and Brianna McFarlane with All Australian honours.
EASTERN ALLIES – 2.6.18
GOALS – A. Hamilton 2
BEST – A. Parker, M. King, N. Garlo, A. Hamilton, P. Odwogo, A. Mitchell