R8 Match Report: Rays girls have impressive win over Murray

on 30 March 2021
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In its penultimate match of the home and away season, the Dandenong Stingrays hosted the Murray Bushrangers at Trevor Barker Beach Oval – looking to come away with a momentum building win ahead of a three week break.

In conditions perfect for football, the Rays capitalised on a brilliant start and edged away in each term, coming away 8.5 (53) to 1.4 (10) winners.

A goal on the siren at the end of the first period from Ella Watts applied the scoreboard pressure to what was a reasonably even first quarter.

In the second term, Dandenong pushed away in a match-defining 17-minutes, kicking two majors and proving impenetrable down back, despite Murray’s best efforts with the slight breeze.

With a 26 point buffer at the main-break and kicking with the minor wind in the third term, it was a matter of maintaining the pressure and avoiding complacency. 

The girls did so in spades, extending the lead and continuing to keep the Bushrangers at bay.

The game opened up in the final term; the Bushrangers hit the scoreboard for the first time while the Stingrays continued its efficiency inside 50, kicking multiple goals late in quick succession. 

Georgia Malkoun kicked three of the Rays eight goals in her second game of the year, while Jemma Radford was named best afield once again – the fifth time Radford has been named in the best this year from seven outings.

The side currently sits well inside the top eight and loom as a big threat in the finals series ahead. While performing regularly, head coach Nick Cox and his staff have also been able to blood plenty of new faces, having three debutants on the weekend. 

“The thing with our team at the moment is we are getting an understanding of what is required when the opposition has the ball in hand,” he said.

“We have been quite good defensively, we put a few new girls back on the weekend, I think the other thing is they (the defenders) have also given a lot of attack from back there as well – which is really pleasing.

“As a region we are quite strong with our depth, it is a credit to the junior competitions in our region to hand us this talent.

“The debutants yesterday were great again,” Cox said.

The girls now face a three week break between games for Dandenong as the national tournaments heat up. An impressive chunk of the Stingrays girls will feature for Vic Country over the next few weeks, before they will come back to apply their craft at the Stingrays home of football – Shepley Oval.

“They (the girls who aren’t at nationals) are still coming in so we will still be able to do fundamentals and a bit of match simulation,” Cox said.

“Unfortunately there is no local footy until the last of the three weeks, but they will be able to train with them as well.

“We have 13 girls playing nationals on Friday, they will get another opportunity and that is just great.

“Six of them will fly out the following week to the Gold Coast to play up there in the under-19s.

“Shepley is a perfect ground to execute and showcase elite girls football, I am looking forward to getting back there,” he said.

While the girls season is far from finished after the win over the Murray Bushrangers on the weekend, Matt Crozier will depart the Rays after an invaluable number of seasons at the club. 

His work in both the boys and girls football programs has been cherished by everyone at the Dandenong Stingrays, and has played a crucial part in where the club sits today. 

The hard-work Crozier has put in has been rewarded with a well-deserved role at St Kilda.

Go well Matt!