UNDEFEATED CANNONS EDGE RANGES IN TIGHT CONTEST
By Adrian Johnson
TWO wins from two games.
That is the current picture for Calder Cannons’ inaugural TAC Cup Girls team after they edged past Eastern Ranges by 11 points in a hotly-contested clash at RAMS Arena on Friday night.
It was a two goal-to-zero third quarter by the Cannons which helped them record a 9.4 (58) to 7.5 (47) win.
Predicted to possibly be the top-two sides in the competition, mouths were watering and tensions were high well before the first bounce.
Calder could not have asked for a better start as Chloe Molloy (three goals) – who also bagged five goals in Round 1 – broke three tackles and kicked the game’s second goal in the opening quarter.
However, Ranges hit back almost immediately to level the scores.
Consecutive goals were rarely seen as the margin never exceeded more than three majors.
A Cannons goal just before halftime saw Ranges enter the main break with a two-point buffer.
But the Cannons came out firing in the third term – often referred to as the premiership quarter.
Led by skipper Lauren Caruso, Madison Prespakis, Sarah Dargan and forward Felicity Theodore (three goals), the home side dominated the term to keep Ranges goalless and entered the final break 13 points up.
Both teams wanted the four points as desperately as each other and it showed in the final quarter.
Monique Conti may not have been at her scintillating best on Friday night, but the basketball gun-turned-TAC Cup midfielder stepped up in several crucial moments to win the contested ball and will Calder over the line.
Speaking to Cannons’ Media team after the game, Cannons coach Alicia Eva commended Conti’s game.
“We speak about impact players and she’s exactly that,” Eva said.
“When push comes to shove and we need experience around the ball, she’s one of the first to go in.
“Everyone is aware of Mon Conti and what she can do and even on a quieter night, she still seems to have a big impact.”
Although the Cannons midfield starred, Eva also praised the efforts of her backline, particularly in the second half.
“The backline impressed me,” Eva said.
Part of that backline was Caitlyn Brown.
The key defender continually took strong marks overhead deep inside her defensive 50m and provided stability for the Cannons.
“She’s one of the girls who walked in at the start of the year and didn’t really know what position she was going to play,” Eva revealed.
“We’ve marked her as a key defender, but a key defender [who] can win her own footy.
“We put the heat on the backline this week because we had too many goals that have been scored over the back and it looked like it was going that way early.
“But they were able to respond really well in the second half which was great.”
Calder is unbeaten from two games and sits third on the TAC Cup Girls ladder.
The Cannons play the winless Western Jets on Wednesday March 29 from 6pm at RAMS Arena.