Port Stephens Midfield the key to success
Written by Isaac Mcintyre
Port Stephens powered to their second win of the season thanks, in part, to “engine-room power” from Leonie Midgley and Dominique Strain setting the building blocks for success in the 5.10-40 to 4.3-27 victory.
While those two mid-stars, and the entire Power midfield, took control of the contest against Gosford at Ferodale Park, representative star Ceyenne Neu led from the front in her “best performance for the club,” according to head coach Tony Merritt. “It was such a solid game from us, we jumped them early and then kept control of the game by that margin all the way through the contest,” he said after the 13-point win. “It was a real engine-room job, and I’m super proud of the girls because when they lost the ball they knuckled down and won it back, and everyone put their hands up.”
The 40-27 win for the home side moves them to tenth place in 2019, with a 2-4 record. While the ladder position is certainly a bonus, Merritt said, his main pleasure came from seeing the girls “getting in the grind” for the full contest.Neu led the way for Power in the goalscoring department, slotting two of the team’s eventual five. Ashley Craddock, Kayla Pennicott, and Nicole Morgan added the other three in the 40-point haul. On the other side of the park, Lil Mugridge scored two for the Tigers, while Amy Sutas and Trudie Allan added single majors as well.
“Our first and main message for the team every game is that when it’s your turn, you put your head over the ball, and everyone did that on Saturday,” he said. “We aim to have our midfield playing a tight structure, and this week our on-ballers didn’t let their on-ballers get dominant. I couldn’t be happier with how the girls shone. “Dominique [Strain] was the perfect example of that, she played in the ruck, and jumped high, ran hard, and in the last quarter she crashed a couple of packs and got the ‘dirty work’ done the midfield to make sure we could keep hold of the lead. It was wonderful to see everyone putting their hands up to see the game out.”
Elsewhere on the weekend, Maitland continued their unbeaten start to 2019 with a tight 7.8-50 to 2.5-17 win over Warners Bay, while Terrigal Avoca kept pace with their own 6-0 record after a 127-13 victory against Wallsend-West Newcastle. Bronte Korsch and Emily Bryant kicked four majors each to clock the 114-point win over the Swans.
Also on Saturday, Cardiff and Newcastle played out an epic 47-32 battle that eventually went the way of City for the televisied BarTV match of the round. Newcastle took control of the contest early as Molly Simpson kicked a first-quarter hat-trick, before the Hawks regained the lead through two from Arizona Cross and a third from Hayley Wright. The Blues recovered from the second-period spell to regain the lead however, and eventually closed out the 15-point win in front of the cameras thanks to late majors from Claire Mcgarity and Samantha Thompson. The win for City levels them with their old rivals Cardiff, with both sides now boasting a 5-2 record after seven rounds.
At Adelaide Street Oval, Angela Jones kicked a titanic 18 goals against Singleton in Killarney Vale’s 32.17-209 to nil victory. The magnificent haul for the Bombers’ 2019 recruit puts her right back into the race for the golden boot. She is now just four goals behind league leader Jessie Burnham, who has recorded 33 for Maitland this season.
Finally, Lake Macquarie chalked their third win of the season with a 17.29-131 to nil win over Muswellbrook, while Wyong Lakes had a default win against The Entrance Bateau Bay after the southern Blues forfeited the match. Nelson Bay had the bye.
TABLE: Maitland, Terrigal Avoca (100%), Killarney Vale, Wyong Lakes (85%), Cardiff, Newcastle (71%), Singleton (57%), Lake Macquarie (43%), Wallsend-West Newcastle (40%), Port Stephens (33%), Warners Bay (28%), Gosford (16%), Nelson Bay, Muswellbrook, The Entrance Bateau Bay (0%).