Southern Saints triumph over Port Melbourne on a sunny Mother’s Day to move to into the top six on the back of a 5-3 record
Photography: Anthony Vella
On a bright and sunny Mother’s Day, the Southern Saints hosted Port Melbourne at Wilson Storage Trevor Barker Beach Oval. The match was played with great grit and determination from both sides as neither conceded an inch all day, but it was the Saints who came out on top after withstanding the late Port Melbourne pressure.
Winnie Laing led the way with her run and carry all game long, accumulating 24 touches, 14 kicks, and five tackles. Assisting her through the middle was Ali Hynes, who recorded 10 touches and 23 hit outs, whilst also laying six tackles. Up forward it was Gaby De Angelis and Tayla Kearns who combined for the match winning three majors, along with seven tackles each.
The start of the game was hot, as both sides applied unrelenting pressure at both ends of the ground, making it tough for either team to move the ball fluently. The deadlock was broken halfway through the term via a Port Melbourne goal, before the Saints quickly replied with two of their own. The first, a great banana goal from the forward pocket by Kearns, and De Angelis followed it up not long after with a trademark right foot snap goal out of traffic inside 50.
Georgia Foran and Charlotte Ryan were excellent defensively in the quarter, taking a pair of intercept marks and rebounding out of defence nicely. The Saints did well to lock the ball inside their forward half in the latter stages of the term, with De Angelis and Olivia Robinson laying two brilliant tackles to set the tone physically.
Port Melbourne begun to get on top in the second quarter, winning the inside 50 count 12-3. However, the Saints defence held strong to only concede the two majors early on. This was epitomised by the Saints laying 21 second quarter tackles and cracking into the contests all quarter to ensure that the Port Melbourne players felt the pressure.
Laing continued her great start to the match, with seven disposals in the quarter, bringing her first half total to 13, while Deanna Jolliffe laid three first half tackles to prevent Port Melbourne from getting any easy possessions.
Just before half time, Lucy Burke laid a big bump on the wing to let the Port Melbourne girls know that the Saints were never going to back down from the contest.
The Saints came out firing in the second half, turning the tables to dominate the quarter in most of the major stats categories, most notably disposals (+26) and inside 50’s (+11). This domination began to reflect on the scoreboard as the Saints kicked one goal, four behinds, to Port Melbourne’s lone point.
As Burke was swung back in the second half, it was Co-Captain, Kearns who stood up as the big target up forward, pulling down two marks and winning two free kicks in the quarter to have four shots on goal that unfortunately couldn’t be converted from tough angles. However, the Saints continued to persist, and De Angelis bobbed up late to slot her second major of the match and put the Saints back in front heading into the final quarter.
Laing sustained her brilliant run and carry on the wing with six third quarter touches, whilst Madi Capsalis began to string together some nice plays to record seven disposals of her own and lay a crunching chase down tackle in the middle of the ground to win a free kick for holding the ball. Caitlin Matthews also had a great defensive effort in third term, taking a great diving intercept chest mark at half back from Port Melbourne’s centre clearance.
Holding a one-point lead to begin the fourth, the Saints knew they were going to have to dig in to hold on, and dig in they did, as they held Port Melbourne scoreless in the last quarter to typify what a great day it was defensively for the team.
Tessa Boyd continued her streak of great last quarter performances in close games, with a magnificent tackle at half forward to win a free kick for holding the ball, as well sending the Saints inside 50 multiple times in the dying stages of the match. Laing and De Angelis combined for 44 disposals, and Jemma Webster, Kearns, and De Angelis all laid seven tackles each. Hynes gave the Saints midfielders first ball use all day, amassing 23 hit outs and six tackles of her own.
All game long the Saints players cracked in with second efforts, and the gutsy three-point win was just what the Saints needed to bounce back into the winner’s column heading into round 10.
Scores: Southern Saints 3.7 (25) defeated Port Melbourne 3.4 (22)