RMIT recorded its closest result yet against South Melbourne Districts at Albert Park Oval.
In its first match in VAFA Premier C, the Reserves finished 59 points in arrears at the final siren. With the Redbacks once again undermanned and the bracing conditions challenging play, the Swans prevailed 7.18 (60) to 0.1 (1).
The ferocity of Gina DiBenedtto and Brooke McKaig on the last line of defence foiled South Melbourne time and time again as the pair repeatedly brought the ball to ground and put pressure on their opponents.
As captain for the day, Mia Deverell provided a marking target around the middle of the ground while Beth Scutt was outstanding around contests.
“Positioning and providing multiple options were the biggest key,” says coach Gezim Zeneli. “Before, they were standing in one spot so now they’re providing multiple options.”
“We saw a lot of shepherding. The tackling improved but they’ve still got more room for improvement.”
Hannah Steer and Lucy Allibon pulled on the red and black for the first time, bringing more fresh faces to the Reserves.
“We’ve never had a full side. Yesterday, we had two new girls who had never played before and then Izzy [Corr] got concussed and we took her off as precautionary measure and we played nearly a half with 15. They were still working for each other.
“We’re threatening the goals now and that’s purely lack of numbers. As soon as we get a full side with numbers up forward, with our game plan we’re going to kick one.”
RMIT Redbacks 0.1 (1)
South Melbourne 7.18 (60)
Best – Scutt, DiBenedtto, McKaig, Deverell, Allibon, Steer.
The Seniors recorded their highest score of the season in their 1.5 (11) to 8.7 (55) loss to the Swans.
Captain April Goldring’s outstanding marking in defence was a highlight of the final quarter. Lily Baker played her best match yet in Redbacks’ colours as she pushed from the forward line to provide a marking option as high as defensive wing.
With Sarah McKenna ruled out before the game with a broken finger, Penny Bunn was promoted to ruck and battled out against a far taller opponent.
Olivia Giaccotto converted from the forward pocket in the third quarter after winning a free kick for holding the ball to register her first goal for RMIT.
Coach Mitch Lower says the Redbacks showed signs that will be able to play their best footy in the new grade.
“The level of where we’re playing at now allows us to gather more of an identity on how we play and we’re starting to see some really good passages of play and that’s highlighted by the first quarter when we actually had more scoring shots than them.
“Second quarter and fourth quarter, we had more of a defensive mindset kicking into the wind. We chucked a spare down back to try to neutralise their attack and play a more attacking style of football relying on intercept marks and moving on quickly.
“We got the ball forward quite often, even into the wind but we just lacked that ability to finish when Inside 50.”
RMIT was still short of its best 22 but Lower says that his charges are reaping the rewards of their experience.
“Tahlia Ingram had come off a nasty leg knock and hadn’t played for a couple of weeks and she was a contested bull around the ball.
“Meg Bryant down back was really good and again she’s not the most built player but she has great strength around the contests. For such a new player she really backs herself around the contests and uses her speed and handball really well to set up play going forward.”
RMIT Redbacks 1.5 (11)
South Melbourne 8.8 (56)
Best – Ingram, Bryant, Bunn, Nicolaou, Goldring, De Bruyn.
Goals – Giaccotto.