For the second week in a row, RMIT came up trumps despite being undermanned against North Brunswick AFC.
The Redbacks fielded 16 players including two debutants in the Reserves match and 18 in the Seniors with six players doubling up to fill the spaces. The Reserves were able to win their fifth game in six matches after holding off the fast-finishing Bulls while the Seniors produced their very best football in the second half as they slammed on seven goals to one en route to a 65-point win.
After claiming their first ever win against the Bulls in Round 7, the Reserves were keen to show their subsequent improvement at Allard Park. Dana Tieman and Adele Kobylarz both played their first matches in the red and black with Kobylarz going on to play in the Seniors as well.
Captain Mia Deverell won the toss and the Redbacks made the most of their chances with the wind in the first quarter. After starting the season in the ruck and playing down back in her return to the field against Mazenod, Sarah McKenna started up forward and the move paid off handsomely: she kicked the opening goal after a ruck infringement and then cut off a kick-in, played on and roosted a second four minutes later as the Redbacks opened up a handy 15-point quarter time buffer.
With Penny Bunn gaining the edge in the ruck and Lucy Allibon and Kristy McClaer calling the shots down back, RMIT continued to create chances up forward in the second quarter. However, a wasteful goalkicking return of 0.6 from the second quarter kept the Bulls in the match when the contest could have been put to bed by half time.
North Brunswick redoubled its efforts in the third quarter and pushed through the heavy conditions to kick its first goal, bridging the deficit to just thirteen points and balancing the momentum. To compound the Redbacks’ woes, McClaer was visibly struggling after sustaining a heavy knock late in the second quarter and other players were showing the fatigue after playing three quarters with no bench. The Bulls kicked the first goal of the final quarter inside of four minutes and suddenly the Redbacks were the hunted.
As a mark of the Reserves’ steady collective growth, role players delivered in the fourth quarter just when their team needed them most; Lillie Jago, Michelle Todorov and Kellie Jones all cut off Bulls’ forward charges in the dying minutes. The tiring Redbacks held firm and celebrated a 2.9 (21) to 2.3 (15) win, keeping their narrow finals hopes alive ahead of the last round of the home and away season against Canterbury.
RMIT Redbacks 2.9 (21)
North Brunswick 2.3 (15)
Goals – McKenna 2.
Best – McClaer, McKenna, Allibon, Bunn, Jago, Deverell.
After mastering the heavy conditions underfoot, the Seniors got the chance to flex some muscle against the Bulls. The mud and wind made the going tough early but Sarah McKenna, playing a double-header along with Julz Nannetti, Lucy Allibon, Rachel Nisbett, Michelle Todorov and debutant Adele Kobylarz, marked strongly and kicked the opener into the wind to give her side a narrow quarter time lead.
Once the Redbacks’ engine room began to win the ball, the contest turned one-sided. Sara Riseley’s untouchable form in the ruck rolled on as she gave her side first use around the ground, readily capitalised on by the likes of Tahlia Ingram, Shayla Gamble and Kylie de Bruyn, whose fleet-footed run and carry and nimble disposal continued unabated for four quarters in an unquestionable BOG display. McKenna soccered through her fourth for the day but her chances of being the only Redback to register on the scoresheet ended when Thomay Nicolaou continued her electric form up forward with a superb snap on the run from the pocket. The half time lead was stretched out to 23 points and it was clear that Mitch Lower’s side was going to win its third on the trot.
It was in the second half that the fun really started. The Redbacks did not look like a side with just 13 matches under its belt; the midfield dominated and the forward line outmarked and outplayed the Bulls as RMIT slammed on 4.4 to 1.0 against the wind. Julz Nannetti snapped the first before Lily Baker judged a swirling incoming ball best to mark and register her side’s sixth. de Bruyn, seemingly unable to put a foot wrong, took an incredible mark against the pack and slotted her first goal of the season and Izzy Symes capped off a dominant quarter with the best goal, a glorious snap across the body from an improbably clean pick-up out of the mud.
Party time continued in the final quarter with Evangeline Clough-Good squeezing through a goal from deep in the pocket and Riseley striding through the half-forward line to roost through her first. In an unexpectedly successful positional change gambit, full-forward Lily Baker and centre half-back Neve O’Connor excelled in each other’s position; Baker claimed three intercept marks and O’Connor kicked a goal.
RMIT will play Canterbury next Saturday at Bundoora Oval.
RMIT Redbacks 10.11 (71)
North Brunswick 1.0 (6)
Goals – McKenna 2, Nicolaou, Nannetti, Baker, de Bruyn, Symes, Clough-Good, Riseley, O’Connor.
Best – de Bruyn, Riseley, Nicolaou, O’Connor, Symes, McKenna.