The Saints have continued their undefeated start to the 2023 REBEL VFLW season after a 25-point win against Essendon at Wilson Storage Trevor Barker Beach Oval.
Photography by Anthony Vella
In a rematch of the 2022 VFLW Grand Final, our girls showed the level of progress which has been made over the preseason with an impressive victory against the Bombers on Sunday.
Gabriella De Angelis proved to be a handful across the half forward line collecting a game high 28 disposals and booting a goal, along with five tackles.
Other standout performances included Winnie Laing (20 disposals and two goals), Michelle Podnecky (17 disposals and six tackles) and Sera Kaukiono (14 disposals and two goals).
The match was tightly contested until the Saints broke it open with three goals in the final quarter to make it two wins from two, to start the 2023 season.
In a strong defensive display for the second week in a row, our girls kept the opposition to two goals for the entire match – including no goals conceded from the 17 minute mark of the first quarter.
Our first goal came from Co-Captain Tayla Kearns as she latched onto a long hit out from Margaret Kershaw at the top of the goal square and fired home.
Having peppered the scoreboard with three behinds in the second term, our girls got the rewards late in the quarter through De Angelis as she soccered the ball through the goals from mid-air after a great forward half intercept from Tessa Boyd.
Led by another strong performance from Boyd (20 disposals and seven marks), our backline stood up well again as the Bombers had momentum and controlled the territory battle at the start of the third quarter.
The Saints midfielders and defenders applied significant pressure to make sure many of the Bombers' shots were from difficult angles and limited the damage well. After weathering the storm, our girls extended the lead to five points heading into three quarter time following a burst of pace from Jemima Wrigley who set up a running goal for Laing.
With the game in the balance heading into the final quarter, a flurry of goals from Kaukiono and Laing sealed the victory for the Saints.
Kaukiono’s first goal came from a quick Charlotte Ryan kick from a stoppage as she juggled the mark and slotted home cooly. Laing then showed her poise and speed with a side step to clear the immediate danger before kicking truly.
In a final demonstration of the Saints' supreme work rate – which saw them win the total possession count by more than 80 while also winning the tackle count – three Saints players pushed hard forward to create an opportunity for Kaukiono to kick the last goal with seconds remaining in the match.
Grace Hodder also epitomised the team’s willingness to work both ways, amassing 16 disposals and eight tackles, bettered only by Wrigley for the Saints (ten tackles).
After nine debutants in round one, another two players pulled on the red, black and white for the first time this week. Kim Ebb (14 disposals and three tackles) and Jane Moore (three disposals) will be looking to build on their strong debuts.
Our girls will look to continue their undefeated start to the 2023 season with another win against Box Hill Hawks on Sunday afternoon at RSEA Park.