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

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#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!