By Michelle Williams - Coach
After two years of disruption due to COVID-19, the footy season for 2022 was unknown. Would we play many games, will there be finals, will this season be cancelled like the previous year?
In much anticipation, the team of 22 players gathered for training on Tuesday nights - very excited about playing and looking forward to getting to know all their teammates. The captains were voted in by their peers with Anna and Bianca (Co-Captains) and Millah and Amelie (Vice-Captains) selected. We had a mix of girls from various ages, and experience. Some were best friends and had played together for years, others new to the game! The team values were decided upon with Respect, Teamwork and Fun being most important to the girls. They all wanted to learn new skills, continue to develop and wanted to have fun.
The support for the team consisted of team manager Beth, trainer Noni, runner Hailey, assistant coach Kane and coach Michelle. We also had Brad help with the girls at training, Paul, Jason, Meagan and Adam with various tasks (umpire escort, goal umpire, field umpire and photography).
The home and away season began with a huge win against Endeavour Hill/Rowville (16.17.113 v 0.1.1). Round two was another huge win against Knox (14.11.95 v 1.1.7) and Round three won comfortably against Bayswater. Round four against Wantirna South was a close one finishing with a 7-point win. The girls lost the last quarter in this game and if it went any longer, we may have lost this one!
East Ringwood gave us a run for our money in Round five and at three quarter time we were down by two goals. We managed to keep them from scoring in the last quarter and won by 2 goals. There was a strong wind that helped us, but the determination shown from the team was a huge indicator that the team didn’t want to be beaten! Ferntree Gully/Norwood was another close call with us hanging on to secure our sixth straight win. This game was one to improve on with the team’s defensive pressure both in the back and forward line being light on. This was an area to focus on for future games.
The next four rounds saw us continue to build on our strengths and team spirit both on and off the field. With a team building night at Michelle’s place. Much fun and team bonding amongst the girls was had with blind fold and dress up relays, charades and many other activities. Training sessions also commenced with the senior women’s team - thanks to Kane. This was a great opportunity for the senior women to mentor the younger girls and create leadership pathways for them. A lot of fun was had between the teams with a few more held over the season.
Round eleven was the first loss for the season. This was against Wantirna South during the school holiday period, with four of our key players out for this game. It was a thumping for us (4.5.29 vs 8.12.60). The following week was our second loss to East Ringwood by 11 points. We had a late season slump that needed some attention in certain areas including building in some systems and more permanent positions for the girls to maximise team strengths.
Round thirteen against Ferntree Gully/Norwood was probably the most eventful. This was a day that saw hail, thunder, lightning, and torrential rain. The team were called off the ground several times to keep going until the game was finally called off due to the conditions. Their team spirit, resilience and determination on this day was unforgettable. The girls were so keen to play and loved every minute of it!
We ended up on top of the ladder only just (by percentage) to East Ringwood. The finals series now ahead of us with a hugely successful home and away season.
The first final was against East Ringwood (1 vs 2) at Kilsyth – Pinks Reserve. This was a very windy day with all 22 girls ready to go into battle. Loosing (3.3.21 vs 3.9.27) was disappointing but luckily, we had a second chance.
We played our next final against Wantirna South and won (7.7.49 vs 1.4.10). This was our best game of the season. The girls were switched on, competing with determination and every player contributed to this win. The best team effort all year. We had secured out spot in the Grand Final – the game of the season was ahead!
The preparation leading up was exciting and nerve wrecking. Could we do it? Can we beat a very well balanced, very skilled side in East Ringwood?
The banner was made – BELIEVE AND ACHIEVE – GO JETS.
The girls arrived on the day, nervous and excited as were the coaches and parents!! It was a day we will always remember for many reasons. It poured and poured all day, it got worse throughout the game. This made it incredibly hard to score on the day.
We scored early in the first quarter which set us up nicely. We weren’t to know that there would be very little scoring ahead! We spent most of the game defending the ball and trying to get it off the ground and out of the packs! East Ringwood scored one goal in the third and five behinds with our team putting immense pressure on their forwards! We went out with a positive mind set and determination to get the job done. We scored another goal in the last quarter to put us 2 points ahead. We were able to hold our lead (in extremely difficult playing conditions) to win by 2 points. The siren went – and all the celebrations began. The final score (2.1.13 vs 1.5.11).
The girls showed incredible resilience and had the strongest desire to play for their teammates and club – they celebrated the premiership win that night at the club with family and friends.
Well done to all involved for helping the girls achieve this success. It was an amazing effort and a memory the players at Heathmont Jets will remember forever.
What a season! Well done Under 16 Girls – now a Premiership Team.