The Southern Saints were defeated by North Melbourne on a blustery Saturday afternoon at Wilson Storage Trevor Barker Beach Oval.
Photography by Anthony Vella
The Saints brought the effort and tackling intensity that had them top of the ladder heading into this rebel VFLW Round 12 clash but weren’t able to break down the Kangaroos’ defence, going down by 24 points.
Tessa Boyd, who averages the most disposals per game for the Saints, continued her strong season and was once again the leading disposal winner for the team – collecting 15 possessions to go along with five tackles.
Other standout performers included Margaret Kershaw (12 disposals, 21 hit-outs and a goal), Madison Capsalis (11 disposals, eight clearances and seven tackles) and Saints Co-Captain Tayla Kearns (11 disposals and a game high five marks).
In her return from injury, star midfielder Jemima Wrigley looked as though she hasn’t missed a beat as she amassed 12 disposals and seven tackles.
Kicking into the breeze in the first quarter, the disadvantage was highlighted early as Mel Bertuna’s long kick from half-back looked destined to travel to half-forward but held up in the air and only made it to the centre of the ground. Bertuna was even able to arrive in time to crumb the pack for a second kick in as many seconds.
The Saints’ defence denied opportunities early but a free kick from a ruck contest resulted in the first goal of the game for the Kangaroos. Much of the quarter was played in the Kangaroos’ front half as brave marks from Kayla Ripari and Kershaw helped to limit the damage in the quarter.
Jemma Webster also produced a phenomenally brave smother to deny a certain goal. While our defence held up well despite being under siege during the first term – conceding eight inside-50s to none – a late goal from the Roos saw the margin increase to 15 at quarter-time.
Kicking with the wind in the second term, the Saints turned the tide and registered ten inside-50s themselves. The first score came from Bertuna as she attacked the ball with intent and won a high free kick in the pocket. Her set shot was on line but was touched on the way through.
With the Saints dominating field position, an intercept mark from Ilena Gentile led to a deep entry and Kershaw – who normally plies her trade in the ruck – roved the pack, sidestepped her opponent and snapped the Saints’ first goal for the match.
The Kangaroos were able to kick a goal themselves so the margin was slightly reduced (13 points) at the main break.
The Southern Saints came out in the second half with defensive aggression and Boyd played the gatekeeper role as she used her experience to position herself on the last line of defence to save multiple goals.
Jemma Ramsdale, on debut for the Saints (via the Coates Talent League), started a chain of marks which also included Gaby De Angelis, Capsalis and Kearns to help the Saints move the ball from the back pocket to the forward 50 against the breeze. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to capitalise with a score.
Ramsdale had a very bright start to her career in red, white and black as she went on to collect ten disposals and five tackles.
The Southern Saints tallied 85 tackles for the match – our fourth highest total this season – and won the disposal count against the Kangaroos but the deficit of 25 points at the final break proved too much to overcome.
Winnie Laing had a chance to edge the Saints closer late but her soccer attempt bounced just wide making the final margin four goals.
The Saints host Williamstown next Saturday at Wilson Storage Trevor Barker Beach Oval with the first bounce at 2:05pm.
Final Score: Southern Saints 1.4 (10) defeated by North Melbourne Kangaroos 5.4 (34)
Goals: M. Kershaw
Written by Matthew Santini – Sandringham Football Club Media