As Greg Olsen once said, “the hardest thing about winning is to continue to win”. There could be no truer statement for our Women’s Premiership team, ahead of their season-opening game against the London Swans.
With their Grand Final mud stains finally washed away, a trip to Hackney awaited the girls, and the smell of anticipation was in the East London air. Led by skipper Nuala Clarke, a mix of hardened veterans and fresh faces warmed up to some of Amber Schmidt’s finest beats. And the message was simple - our premiership defence starts here.
And what a start it was!
Driven forward by a powerhouse performance from Priscilla Lodge, the girls burst out of the blocks and had the game on their terms early. Bonnie Johnson was near unplayable in the forward line, as she lived up to her nickname “Buckets” with four goals in the first half. Rachel Ogle meantime overcame early doubts about her position to kick two before departing at the main break, as Schmidty and Nools grabbed one each.
A 55-point lead at half-time fair reward for a dominant performance from the SheDees, with debutant Georgia Stoate a strong presence down back as the Swans were held scoreless. That trend would continue in the second half, despite some experimentation in the third and fourth quarters. A 61-point win an almost perfect start to the season, with injuries somewhat souring the celebrations.
Firstly, to Jess Huxtable, who suffered a concussion in the first half. We wish Hux all the best with her recovery and look forward to her returning to the field soon. Same goes to Eimear Gill, whose debut in Demons colours was ended by a rolled ankle, a far from ideal introduction to AFL.
Our biggest wishes, however, go to Kate Rumley, who was sadly taken to hospital on Saturday with a severe ankle injury, and is now awaiting surgery. All of our thoughts are with you Rum, and whilst it looks like your season is over, we have no doubt you will make up for it with your off-field energy and support.
Up next is the Grand Final replay, so make sure you get down to the Common on Saturday and give the girls the support they deserve.