WITH the TAC Cup Girls competition kicking off on the weekend, there was no shortage of football on and off the screens, with AFLW and the TAC Cup practice matches also in full swing. Here are five moments which made the weekend memorable.
TAC Cup Girls back in action
After witnessing the competition last season, just one round in it is safe to say the standard has lifted and that is a credit to all the players, coaches and development staff at the clubs. Last season the few elite talents were clear, but while they still stand out, there are many others playing crucial roles for their teams. As the season goes on, there will be plenty of names not in draft consideration during pre-season who will be thrown into the mix with consistent performances through the TAC Cup Girls’ competition.
Champions do not stay down
After a dismal performance the week before against Collingwood where she was tagged out of the game with just nine disposals, everyone who tuned in to the Melbourne/Brisbane match on the weekend watched Dees captain Daisy Pearce with intrigue to see how she would respond. The champion stood up and led from the front, racking up 24 disposals and booting two goals and in doing so, led her out-of-form side to a season-defining six-point win over last year’s grand finalists.
Community footy shines
The TAC Cup Girls (and AFLW) got to travel to grounds on the weekend that they would not normally play on during the season. While Epsom Huntly and Deakin University do get the odd game when Queen Elizabeth Oval and GMHBA Stadium are being used mid-season, the likes of Ted Summerton Reserve, Holm Park and JC Lowe Oval welcomed the most talented under 18 female footballers and the communities got a taste of AFLW’s future. In particular, many Bulldogs and Magpies fans arrived at Moe early to see the Gippsland Power/Oakleigh Chargers clash and get a glimpse into the talent which will be unleashed into the AFLW in coming year.
Development and support is key
While I cannot speak for every team at every game, it was fantastic to see the level of support from the Gippsland Power parents and friends as the girls walked off the ground after their 67-point loss to Oakleigh Chargers. It was reminiscent of how junior football – and realistically all levels of football – should be supported. If it was AFL or AFLW, chances are they would not receive such a warm reception, but for the Power players who had just thrown their all into the match and never given up, it would have been a real confidence boost to see so much support applauding them as they walked off. I am sure every club has the same level of support, but it was great to see.
AFLW evenness between teams
While Collingwood might have bowed out of the AFLW Grand Final race, they came within a goal of knocking off the top-of-the-table Western Bulldogs. It highlighted just how close the competition is this season and had the Magpies prevailed, there would have been just four points separating top from bottom with two rounds remaining. While the Magpies cannot make the grand final, they can certainly shape it with games against last year’s grand finalists in Brisbane and Adelaide. For the seven other teams, the last fortnight is going to be intriguing.