Victory is always sweet, but it doesn’t get any sweeter than your first ever.
Just one day after its AFLW affiliate side Richmond beat Geelong to record its first win ever in AFLW, Port Melbourne did the same on an overcast morning at Arden Street.
The VFLW newcomers defeated North Melbourne 8.7.55 to 3.4.22 to earn its first four points in a game full of momentum swings.
It was Richmond-listed forward Christina Bernardi who got the Borough on the board in the first, ending the day with a three-goal haul. Her ball use at ground level was excellent as a tall and will be pushing her case for senior selection next week.
Ruck Alice Edmonds, tough inside midfielder Luka Lesosky-Hay, and rebounding defender Sarah Sansonetti were some of the other better AFLW listed players for the Borough.
Coach Lachie Harris will be crossing his fingers that they don’t get a call up to the senior team.
“They were fantastic,” he told The Inner Sanctum post-game.
“With (Richmond AFLW coach Ryan Ferguson), the ability for them to play well, hopefully, they get that opportunity. That creates the opportunity.
“If he gets them, then we have other girls who come back. It’s a likeness for a likeness with what we get back, and it gets more Richmond girls exposed to what we do here at Port Melbourne.”
Harris had plenty of names to rattle off and praise. First and foremost was skipper Melissa Kuys, who had plenty of touches in the midfield and kicked a late-running goal to seal the game.
“Kuysy was really good, created a lot of drive,” he said.
“Courtney Bromage was good in the first half, and of her own admission, dropped off a little bit in the second.
“Beth Wilson, in her first game ever, kicked 1.4 as a netballer.
“Olivia Barton down back was really strong as a 19 year old and set up a lot of our forward drives.”
More importantly than any individual performance, to get the win was the biggest positive for the new coach and his inaugural team.
“Real special moment, just for the whole footy club,” Harris said.
“For us as a group, to be able to do that and put out the performance we did, I think it’s a moment the girls will cherish for a long time.”
New recruit and former VFLW Hawk Claire Dyett echoed the sentiments of her coach.
“I’m genuinely stoked just being out there with the girls,” she said.
“We’ve had a really good pre-season and we’ve gelled really well, so to put that out there on the field was fantastic. Singing the song was the best thing all year, so hopefully, we can replicate that next week.
“Lachie was just stoked, he said “cherish this moment, we’ve all got family and friends here so go and give them a hug. Then go in and belt out the song.
It doesn’t come around too often, playing the first game for a club as an inaugural team and winning. It’s fantastic.”
Not all the spoils go to the victor
While North Melbourne coach Cheyne Webster will have plenty of notes for his side out of their first game of 2021, they won’t all be entirely negative.
The Roos managed to match the intensity of their opposition for the majority of the game, particularly in the second quarter where they held their defensive line along the wing very strongly.
Repeat inside 50 entries were constantly thwarted by backline stalwarts Megan Lawrence and Nikki Wallace, both aerially and at ground level through tackling pressure.
TSLW star Sarah Skinner has shown she can take her game to the next level, running hard along the wing to impact the game at both ends and demonstrate her silky skills.
AFLW listed tall forward Brooke Brown made the air her own, taking a few contested grabs while Airlie Runnells complimented Skinner nicely on the opposite wing.
With both sides still unsure of their next opponents, the VFLW round two fixture should be released in the coming days.
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