The Reserves stormed home to win their second match of the season against Yarra Old Grammarians while the Seniors were outlasted against the ladder-leading Yarra.
The Reserves kicked the last four goals of the match to win their second game in three matches, 4.5 (29) to 2.3 (15).
The Redbacks were offline early, registering minors with their first three scores of the match while Kristy McClaer proved that her outstanding Round 8 turn as a defender was no fluke as she finished six marks and added powerful rebounding kicks from disposals gathered at ground level to her repertoire.
Playing her first match since Round 5, Tori Quilligan returned in style with a superb goal on the run in the second quarter to pull Yarra’s lead to single figures by half time.
Julz Nannetti kickstarted the RMIT renaissance with a truly remarkable third term. With ferocious attack on the ball and relentless pressure on the Yarra defenders, Nannetti typified the style with which the Redbacks seized the lead in the ‘premiership’ quarter. RMIT began to wrest control of the centre clearances and their forwards hassled and harangued the Grammarians into making mistakes. Nannetti marked running back with the flight of the ball and blitzed her way into goal and had a hand in the Redbacks’ second goal of the quarter as she finished off a chain started by Elin Averius and Alannah Robinson-Hore to find Eliza Goulding in space at the top of the square.
Nannetti was hardly doing it alone: Mia Deverell provided a key forward option by marking and tackling while further afield while in her last match for the Reserves Elin Averius was proving just how far she has come since first picking up a footy three months ago. In defence, Brooke McKaig and Jen Allinson were providing handy rebounding flanks for McClaer as they intercepted the loose ball and pushed past Yarra’s tacklers to guide their side out of trouble.
With the memory of their Round 5 defeat against Yarra still fresh in their memories, the Redbacks held firm time and time again in the last quarter. The door was finally slammed on the Grammarians when Nannetti iced an outstanding game by beating two defenders and soccering through her second goal with two minutes to play.
Not the least impressive fact about the Reserves’ win was that they fielded just 18 players (and played one short until halfway through the first quarter) and their opponents had a bench with six players.
The win leaves the Reserves’ finals chances still very much alive with the Redbacks three games out of the top four with five matches to play.
RMIT Redbacks 4.5 (29)
Yarra Old Grammarians 2.3 (15)
Best – Nannetti, McClaer, Averius, Gingell, Nairn, Steer.
Goals – Nannetti 2, Goulding, Quilligan.
The Seniors fought perhaps their most torrid contest yet but had their chances of a famous win swamped by an unanswered five goal Yarra fourth quarter burst to lose 1.3 (9) to 7.8 (50).
Hampered by the match day withdrawal of three players, RMIT got off to a sluggish start and were lucky to be only eight points adrift at the first break. The first half highlight came when key forward Lily Baker conjured a miraculous goal with a banana on the run from the boundary to keep her side in touch at half time.
Neve O’Connor was mighty as an intercept defender, finishing with no fewer than 17 intercept marks to be adjudged the Redbacks’ best afield.
RMIT was resurgent after half time and began to question the Yarra defence through repeated forward entry as Sara Risley’s ruck work and Shayla Gamble’s tremendous drive through the centre turned the tide in the clinches. Meanwhile, Lily Marwood, Penny Buyn and captain April Goldring toiled between half-back and defensive wing to prevent Yarra spreading and making options when going forward.
Although they played a relentlessly tough brand of footy and had most of the play, the Redbacks were left lamenting the touch of polish to convert their third quarter chances and with the match on the line in the last quarter were outplayed as the Grammarians’ class came to the fore; in the final 11 minutes, Yarra slammed on 4.1 to zip to blow the margin out to a disproportionate 41 points by the final siren.
RMIT takes on the Brunswick Renegades in Round 10 next Saturday at Alec Gillon Oval.
RMIT Redbacks 1.3 (9)
Yarra Old Grammarians 7.8 (50)
Best – O’Connor, Marwood, De Bruyn, Goldring, Riseley, Mawby.
Goals – Baker.