The Lady Swans have just wrapped up their second game of their inaugural season and are heading into their third game on Saturday June 2. Chia Sabbatucci gives us a run-down of what happened in Penang and what we can expect from Phnom Penh!
Penang and the Malaysian Warriors
The Lady Swans hit the paddock for their second game of the 2018 Season on Saturday 19th May, right after the guys finished. The Ladies were ready and the oval was in fine shape, possibly one of the best in Asia. With the score of both the Women’s and Men’s games totaled to determine the winner of the inaugural Crown Relocations cup, there were high expectations of the Lady Swans to take home a win.
The atmosphere was tense and nerves were running high for the first quarter. The Warrior Women hit the ground running. With better coordination amongst the team and some great skills right from the outset, it was the Warrior’s midfield who were winning the ball and using their strong full forward for full impact on the scoreboard. The Warrior’s went into the first quarter break a few goals up.
Under all this pressure, The Lady Swans held their ground and played a defensive half. Katie Walsh defended like a champion, while Amy Crews and Lucy Nguyen were valuable in support at ground level. Alongside our dynamic Philippine duo Alexz and Nini Beltran-Bullard, Sorcha Kenny played exceptionally across the wings to keep the scores close enough at half time for the Swans to pose a genuine challenge in the second half.
Lu Hermon stepped up in the third quarter, putting through two game-turning goals for the Lady Swans, to bring the team within a goal of the Warriors. The game became very close from that point on, with Captain Nona Masyita Hatumena holding fort at Centre-Half Back while Rebecca Phillips was taking strong marks on the half forward line. Siara North from Hanoi then kicked her first goal in Asian footy, in a goal-for-goal exchange.
The Lady Swans were certainly tired, but with the game on the line, noone was giving any ground. Two of our Vietnamese players, Yen Nguyen and Nhan Vu played amazing in defense, marking up on their opponents and drawing the ball to ground, making it hard for the Malaysian Warrior team to score. Larissa was notable in the last quarter and Tilly Perkins didn’t stop the whole game from taking the ball out of packs and hand-balling away.
When the Swans Coach Chia Sabbatucci kicked a goal midway in the final qtr, the Swans were back to only a goal down and the contest was on. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough, with the Warrior Women making the final scores of the game to take win, 39 – 26.
Nonetheless, it was an exceptional outing for the Ladies. As the Club’s first combined tour, both Mens and Womens games had provided a spectacle and no-one could be disappointed with the skills or conduct on display. Thanks to the Malaysian Warriors and the Malaysian Warrior Women for being such gracious (and well-organized) hosts! Thanks also to Ling Teo for some top notch photos from the day.
Back to Training!!
With a really competitive showing against Malaysia and knowing the next game was a mere 2 weeks away, we’ve been back into training twice a week. We’ve even added a boat race practice in on the Wednesdays!
The relationships that have been fostered within the team are fantastic to see. Its a highly diverse team, with the ages ranging from 17 to 52, with multiple nationalities and cultural beliefs. Even with that diversity, the Ladies have really bonded, giving a sense of belonging and respect for each other in only a short period of time together.
Phnom Penh and the Cambodian Apsaras
We hope we can use the strength of the bonds that the girls have forged to really play as a team in our third game of the inaugural season agains Cambodia this Saturday 2nd June. Along with the Warriors, The Apsaras are one of the trend-setters for #AFLW in the region and certainly a formidable side.
This weekend is going to be a tough game playing the Apsaras on their home ground, with a full side. The Lady Swans will have 12 ladies, including three of our Vietnamese local players this weekend. Congratulations also to Leanne, Cindy and Cassandra, three of our Ladies will be playing their debut games.
The team will focus on playing to each individuals abilities and strengths. We’re aiming to stay with the game plan that the team played with in Penang: sticking to the opposition to defuse the ball, creating space and making sure our disposals really count.
Thanks to a couple of the Swans men for supporting the Ladies on their second tour. The Lady Swans are hoping for a chance at the win, to take the Perpetual Friendship Cup back home.
Can we do it?? Stay tuned for the results of the weekend!!
– Chia Sabbatucci