To say it was a ‘day for it’ would be an absolute under-sell. For the first time in Sydney Uni history, a second women’s reserves team was lacing up for their first-ever hit out. With no expectations and everything to prove, the excitement was palpable.
A long pre-season, combined with a fresh coach in Jimmy ‘Sparkles’ Lees, had a team split by veterans and first gamers but united to take on a rightfully disliked East Coast Eagles team.
Donning the clash Jerseys at home like the class act we are, we pulled away in the first Q with a goal from Bend it Like Blair McEwan. 8-2 at quarter time break we felt we had a tough hit out on our hands. ‘The General’ Laura Crewdson marshaled our backline to keep East Coast to one goal in the second quarter whilst down paddock a div 4 legend was born. Masina Nelson, or Machina as she would come to be known, slipped in a goal from the pocket so skilfully you’d forget she scored a try last season. Let us not forget a masterstroke running goal streaming into the pocket from Stephanie Hickman to pull us up to a lucky 13 point lead.
Halftime and the footy shed was absolutely vibrating with potential (and sour gummy snakes). First gamer Sophia Jaques was proving to be a sticky pair of hands near a ball, whilst ‘Big Dog Bondi’ Chelsea Owensby and bomber celeb Theo Van Arnim were holding our midfield strongly and constructing the start of the famous Big Theo Energy midfield mindset.
Back on the paddock for the third and East Coast snuck a goal in. Realistically, star halfback and Chief Vibes Officer Zoe Downing was no doubt being held illegally by 4 huge chicks for this to happen.
Gathered and ready to go for the final nudge, after an impassioned and rare sprint, Machina delivered the last nail in the Eagles coffin whilst they were kept scoreless.
The siren went, div 4 were an undefeated team, I’m pretty sure the clouds cleared and a stroke of light shone down upon Oval 1, embracing our teammates, into the sheds we went. For Nina Kendall, after a childhood spent dancing, a lifetime dream to sing a team song was about to be realised.
Now I will gladly die on this hill, team sports as an adult is one of the best things you could ever do. Looking around that circle seeing all of your faces, and Sparkles bobbing along after realising immediately beforehand that the women’s song is different from the men’s, was one of the deadset best moments of my life. In that special moment, taking that inaugural winners photo, before we even knew what a Wollondilly was or how we’d stack up against the competition, we were already so much more than just a team.
What did we learn?
We have immense depth across the field, we have the ability to outrun and outlast an opposition, and that we have so many key positional players. Also- prosecco tastes better when you’re a winner.
Your Skipper (Evangeline Douglas)