The Lions, The Whits & Old Aquinians

Having played 3 games in the space of 5 days, it’s safe to say the body is taking to the return of regular hockey season like a flying bug to the front windscreen of a semi-trailer cruising down the South West Highway. And thanks to the recent Mindfulness course that work paid me to go on at the end of last week, I’m really able to focus my attention to each and every isolated muscle group and notice just exactly how it feels. #blessed

The Lions
The first mid-week match of the season saw the Warriors out on the pitch late on a Wednesday night, facing off against old foes. The game kicked off at frenetic pace, with the warriors doing their best to absorb an enormous amount of pressure for the first five minutes of play. Luckily, we’d had an excellent warm up and were ready from the first whistle.

Patience, and a lot of composure saw a quick turn of play and YM were flying down the field winning themselves the first PC of the game, resulting in the first goal of the game. Riss was on the board! Considering YM teams have a history of seeing this happen to them, it was refreshing to see the girls turn the tables! Another goal 18’ into the first half was against the flow of play, where Riss managed to put away another sausage roll from the field.

The Subs were living up to their name and running rotations like they were allergic to a bit of extended game play, but it seemed to work in their favour as the Warriors struggled to keep their eyes on all their players. The pride of lions managed to claw back two goals, taking us into the halftime break at 2 a piece.

While the second half saw better man to man marking, and a really solid passage of 20 minutes, Lions were able to jump back on top and put away another 2 goals in the last 10 minutes. Great experience to see where the level can be for game play, and stacks of positives to build on moving forward. As any good football fan will tell you.. It was the loss the team had to have.

JDandTL.jpgThere was a good turn out the following evening to watch the 1s boys play, but also a little embarrassing for them… I’m sure you all know the feeling. You earn a few international (bucket) caps, play in a good club team and then just try to unwind in your downtime when a few male counterparts  can’t help but try to slide up close on the bench *rolls eyes* #shameless #fanboys

Little did we realise, rolling into our 3rd game JD would still be stalking us, using elaborate excuses of ‘setting up shop’ at the new Warwick Turf just to hang around. SO transparent.

The Whits
With the crowd settled in at the fresh venue, it was time to give the fans what they wanted! A lovely sunny afternoon and some good hockey to watch. The warm up could have gone better, claiming a quad before the first whistle had even sounded, but some perseverance from the players showed their conscious effort to follow the advice of our visored visionary during the first half. There were two excellent goals, the first confirmed by Lou as Little Ducky, the second, coming off a magical piece of play that no one seemed quite sure who had the last touch, but I suspect it was Little Ducky once again. It was hard to tell as the defenders were back congratulating themselves on a fifth / sixth assist.

As the play goes… Liv cuts off a defender in our attacking half, feeds the ball off to Spud Half who turns, finds her inside forward in Doods. A beautiful ball back out to Suze, into Grace on the T-Swift spot, before bunting it back up to Little Ducky who put the ball where it needed to go – in the back of the net!

While difficult to always trace a goal back to its origins, this was great hockey that deserves the recognition. Previous years’ on-field strategy may have seen this ‘passing the ball’ concept as something new and risky, but seems to be working a treat for the team so far! Who knew?!

Second half was a much slower game, it was a hot day and both teams were feeling the heat. An early third goal seemed to absolutely take on the spirit of the half as Grace got an amazing breakaway, naturally opting for the Tomma, the ball seemed to go into a long, slow, almost languid loop over the goalkeeper before making its way across the line and into the  box. The remainder of the half was about maintaining possession and making sure the legs held up, without letting Whitfords get one back. How great did it feel to walk away with a clean sheet?!

Unfortunately, this wouldn’t last long for most members of the team as the first Kangaroo Court session was called to order by our VC & Fines Master. Carefully laid rules and regulations were presented to the group, providing boundaries, incentives and penalties for behaviour across the squad. Ducky may have to sell the house…

Prom1s_whitfords

Old Aquinians
The Premier 2s kicked off their season with a difficult clash against the reigning premiers from 2016 on their home turf. I think it’s safe to say the entire team were surprised by our efforts as it was quite literally the first time many of our team had played together, and we are so grateful to the two super subs who came along to make up numbers and give us a break from the heat out on the pitch!

Lisa picked up on the intensity message, and with this in the back of our minds as we crossed that white line, the message was put into action. The girls were fighting out a fierce battle, and communication was the key to holding off such strong opposition. An early goal from Reds while our team was still finding their feet proved the difference, not that Fluff didn’t try to sneak in a reply.

To be fair, she did send a ball hurtling into the net, but when that net is the outside wall of the goal, it was a very awkward pause in play when the umpire has awarded the goal and reds (rightly so) were losing their sh*t… Fluff, obviously feeling really conflicted about the situation… stayed absolutely SILENT, trying to make the more honest girls around her hush as the umpires conferred. It took a bold soul in Lou to set the record straight, and I’m still not sure Fluff agrees with this strategy! Get it right the first time Fluff & you won’t have to worry!

Another squad fines sess, some beers, and watching the 1s boys (noting JD still following me around) was the perfect wrap to an intense few days of hockey.

Prem 2sThe fast fire start to the season has seen the BBQ team back up and sizzling, ensuring good rotation with fresh meat replacing our teammates who were back to their best on the weekend. A break between games, and a hydration session on Thursday evening down at the boys game should ensure the squad is raring to go again after the Easter long weekend.

 

And let’s hope that next time our VC is invited for drinks, she actively seeks to recruit a videographer for our next game, rather than pretending she’s unavailable and moving overseas….!!

Look good, Play good

From early goal setting sessions, the team knew that the key to success this season did not lie in fitness, skills practice or even grammar lessons, but rather, in the sound knowledge that when we look our best, we play our best. And so the mantra was set.

Look good. Play good.

A critical component of this was the elusive uniform. There had been much anxiety during the week after the announcement that they had arrived. Without going into the specifics of socially responsible procurement, it’s safe to say this was not considered when choosing an offshore provider for the uniforms, and there were some inevitable hiccups along the way. It meant the delivery had been a long time coming, with much time and effort gone into interpreting size guidelines to ensure everyone would have something to wear by Round One.

Who knew what the outcome would be?

Fortunately, when they arrived we had models at the ready. Boy oh boy were these girls keen to showcase their assets…

uniformmodels

Unsure how much experience the girls have had in the modelling industry to date, it was difficult to fully appreciate the look.

uniformsmeme

Game Day was finally here, and the VCs were out on a sunny Saturday morning sourcing the finest threads for hair ribbons to complement our new uniforms. The result was better than we could have hoped for..

uniformgamedayDavid Banyard
https://m.flickr.com/#/photos/banworth/33790228605/in/set-72157679626370522/

Round One
YMCC vs Peel Rebels

Back at the hallowed grounds of Shenton College, there was plenty of back slapping, hugs and nervous energy ricocheting around the ground like an angry bee in a Redbull can as we found ourselves reunited and ready for Round One. We congratulated ourselves on making it here, after a long off season. Old friends, back doing what we love: sitting in the crowd on a hot, sunny afternoon sinking cold beers and watching other people play hockey.

It was a fresh squad lining up out on the turf. Whether they were new to the club, new to the team, or just new to the opposition – it was a game of unknowns, and the Young Money Cash Cats took some time to find our stride. It was evident throughout the first half that we were the dominant team, but we couldn’t capitalise. This was made all the more difficult by the physical restraining of Ten by her father-in-law opposition Coach while she was trying to sub onto the field! Fortunately she managed to shake him off, to the cheers of all her wee fans “Go Aunty Ten!”

Our captain seemed to be marked by 4 opposition players, but we still managed to work some magic through our midfield, and the spaces that created for us in the wide channels meant we had plenty of opportunity up front. We went into the half-time break at 0-0, which didn’t do justice to the capacity of our team. We needed a lift, and we needed a goal.

Early into the second half, the team was stronger and linking up through the lines. We worked the ball into the circle and won ourselves another PC. There was only one option. Given we’d set a goal of 67% success rate off PCs, we had to nail it. The insertion was quick, a great trap and solid crack of the ball sent it sailing through the air into the back of the net. The crowd held its collective breath as we couldn’t be sure whose stick it had come off. The umpires paused for dramatic consultation before Riss’ first goal for the season was confirmed! A true Captain’s goal, although probably wouldn’t be retold as much as Moore-Crouch crab goal…

This was just the break we needed, and the girls seemed to loosen up and play their own style of game better from this point on. There were some excellent opportunities, a few more short corners, but the second goal of the game came in the 21st minute. It seemed to happen in slow motion, Little Ducky had worked her butt off driving hard into the circle and picking up the ball off the pads to flick it straight past the keeper towards the net. As a good striker, Fluff was there in the thick of it ready to support her sister & teammate…
Or was she? You could almost SEE the thought process happen in Fluff’s mind as she considered all the options…
A very smooth transition of avian loyalties, Fluffy Duck became Fluffy Seagull as she managed to get the last touch on the ball before it crossed the line. The warriors were up 2-0!

Squealer has an opportunity for another Opera moment after copping a Rebels stick straight to the face and being our second player of the season to receive free cosmetic alterations. Who needs botox?

All in all, a bleeding nose, full lips, freshly shredded elbows on Tay-tay, bragging rights at the next Tremayne dinner and three premiership points.. Who couldn’t walk away from the pitch filled with that winning feeling!!

*Fines –
Fluff, for stealing her big sis’ thunder

Waltzing Matildas

If you take to google, late on a Saturday night, to research the two sports of hockey and soccer, you’ll come to a realisation that whether you’re looking at pitch size, playing structure, or dependence on the team unit, they are pretty similar games.

Both are based on continual movement and action with few opportunities for set plays (PCs and corner kicks) over the course of the game and are comparatively low-scoring affairs.”
– Comparing Aesthetics: Hockey and Soccer http://hockeybydesign.com/2014/07/comparing-aesthetics-hockey-and-soccer/

It seems fitting then, that a casual game of pick-up soccer before turf training, could be beneficial to assist with running patterns we would use in a hockey game. As an added bonus, the plan was that this would be some light running, intended to protect those players carrying niggling injuries and soreness from recent return to match play.

matildas

You know what the say about best laid plans…

The game of ‘murderball’ that ensued was slow to take off, but once the ball was thrown among a group of highly competitive athletes, it became surprisingly fierce. For all the similarities between the two sports, it was quickly evident that we had very little cross-over of actual technical skill. The strategy of play was kick, or be kicked. Followed closely by a general life rule I try to live by: avoid balls in your face. It is a truly shocking experience on every occasion.

Coming off the back of a well lubricated St Patrick’s Day, some of the squad were struggling more than others when taking to the pitch for our intra-club scratchy. This wasn’t going to stop anyone! The first third of game play saw the Bibs kick off, and really tap into the advice being handed out over the past few weeks at training. Valuing the ball, not rushing play, and finding teammates to make smart passes meant they held majority of possession. The Non-Bibs (NBs) didn’t let this stress them out, and pounced on errors, capitalising at the right moment to slot away a couple of early goals. As the thirds rolled on, and player numbers dropped, the NBs were able to showcase their dominance of the midfield and excellent distribution to hammer away at the goals. T-swift was back to her international best, bagging a bunch of sausage rolls thanks to some great team passages of play linking up nicely with Little Ducky & Doods Iguana. When the legs were well & truly done, the day was called. Shout out to Guest Coach Sarah for coming down on a cold Saturday morning!  

The team huddle at the end gave Gibbo an opportunity to stumble over an excellent double entrendre by congratulating the Bibs on taking it up to the more ‘senior’ team. The laughter that erupted from the squad showed that, depending on the choice of definition, you almost could have painted either team with this brush. I’ll leave it to you all to contemplate…

Senior
adjective

  1. of a more advanced age.
    “she is 10 years senior to Judith”
  1. of or for older or more experienced people.
  • of or for the final year at a university or high school.
  • relating to or denoting competitors of above a certain age or of the highest status in a particular sport.
    “McCluskey made an instant impact on her senior debut”
  • (in names) denoting the elder of two who have the same name in a family, especially a father as distinct from his son.
    “Henry James senior”
  1. high or higher in rank or status.
    “he is a senior Finance Ministry official”

With an impressive effort from all the girls on pitch, it was time to tick some ‘off field’ team goals, by heading for a happy, bacon-filled breakfast.

The biggest take away from the day, thanks to a severely embarrassing spelling incident, was the Phoenix realising there is one pile of ashes she may not come back from just yet, and has resigned herself to grovelling at the feet of the fourth in line for the trapping throne for a long while to come..

*Fines –
Buffy, for leaving her stick behind at training
Cass, for leaving her car keys behind at breakfast

#ballgirlbanter

“The best way to improve the team, is to improve yourself”
“We are all created equal – some just work harder in preseason”
“The best athlete is made during the off-season”

The motivation is there, the message is on point, and with the best of intentions, the squad launched into preseason before January even had a chance to get going. All I can remember of the first 5 weeks of training is feeling like my legs were permanently hungover. And I know a good hangover. Hopefully the sprints sessions would set me up well to maximise ball delivery as I dart confidently along the white lines in 2017.

Moving on from pounding the pavement, the turf training acted in a similar fashion to an unattended plate of donuts in the office kitchen… less sweet, but attracting a crowd from nowhere nonetheless. We had plenty of new faces in the team as the warriors threw themselves (some head first), into the Lions den for our first preseason scratchy.

The first 10 minutes of play was a classic display of cat and mouse as the two teams sized one another up. A conceded goal was quickly answered by the warriors with a fast and furious attack down the line, sending the ball to the baseline where Suze was able to set up a hungry T-Swift to nail the deflection. The levelling of scores lead to a break in intensity. Seizing the moment to do a switch up of players, the bench was activated. We were under the pump, but the girls made some great plays. A defensive PC lead to a clash of the titans, with Gumby showing her ability to stop Tarryn in her tracks. This came at a cost. Fortunately for Gumby, her modelling career wouldn’t be limited to claymation.. An immediate cheek filler and perfect dark contouring across her jaw line, little did Tarryn realise the favour she’d done for our favourite butt double.

A few injuries in, with muscle, joint and brain soreness, and a squeal enough to have shattered bones, there was some concern as to whether the bodies would hold up to see out 3 pieces of play. Gibbo was good enough to acknowledge that our best runner was sidelined for the remainder of the game, which was affecting the legs of the team. Alex was also taking a break…

Down to only two rotating players off the bench, it was going to be a tough ask to finish out the game. The girls killed it, with some seriously promising signs and creating plenty of opportunities up front. For a first hit out, with a new group and plenty of players filling gaps out of their regular positions, the positive takeaways were still evident. It was refreshing to see everyone come off the pitch exhausted, but smiling.

Gold coin donations are currently being accepted as membership to the BBQ team at training. Stick a fork in me Jerry, cos I am DONE.

*Fines –
Meg, for failing at English. “Bring your clean & smelling like roses uniform to training” – this does not imply that washing the uniforms is optional!