Stocky’s Scribbles: Jets out of finals

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The Brighton Jets now out of the final series after two defeats, faced the Texas Rush 98/97 Elite team at Ross Stewart Oval Number 3. The girls were upbeat about the opportunity to try and secure a win and restore some pride before ending the tournament and registering points on the table in their grouping.

The stage was set for a ding dong battle against another elite Girls team from Texas ranked in the top ten in America. The Rush have a reputation for being physical on the ball and the Jets were ready this time around for anything thrown at them. Once again the early consistent pressure and on ball challenges from the Rush yielded mistakes by the Jets and they capitalized on their opportunities each time opening up a 2 Nil break at half time of the game. The Jets were really trying hard but the flow of play was clearly in favour of the Rush as they were very strong across the ground and solid in midfield.

The half time address by coach Jaroslav Dedic was a stirring and passionate plea to “leave nothing on the table” and win the second half. Many of the girls have played under Jaroslav for several seasons both in the outdoor form of the game and with Futsal in his EFA Eagles Teams inside the MFL Open Womens League. The skills and decision making Jaro has instilled in the girls in the indoor form of the game certainly has contributed to the advanced ball handling skills they possess and they are all well equipped in this area of the game. Testimony to this, is that the Jets lineup has 3 NTC (National Training Center) and 8 EAP (emerging Athletes program U14/15 Girls) in the squad – talent is not missing here but aggression, physicality and endurance are certainly things to work on in the year ahead and we know they will gain this now through these elite FFV programs. So the second half was in the hands of the girls to see what could be salvaged from this game.

Every single girl in the team lifted in the second half and the Jets for the first time in the tournament outplayed the opposition in all aspects of the game. The keeper Jaye Todd has had a wonderful tournament being consistently deluged by corners and fast moving forwards attacking her goal line. She has withstood the tirade and was ably supported by the entire defensive line of India Tait, Lucy Kennedy, Marianna Anthony, Rachel Seager and Liana D’Amico.

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The midfielders maintained formation and created great drive for the Jets through the efforts of Simone Kenny, Amy Silver, Kat Bellesis and Olivia Fifer. The forwards were all of a sudden receiving the through passes which were quick and direct allowing Dani Gudelj, Edita Mackaj, Maddie Stockdale and Emma Heckenberg opportunities to score. In the end, Edita Mackaj found the back of the net and the Jets ended the half with a 1 nil victory delivering the result the coach was looking for.

For the first time, the Brighton Jets won a half of football against a Texas Elite team and certainly had their opportunities to win the game with several shots just missing the net. The rousing reception from all the family members (19 in total) when the girls came off indicated their efforts were appreciated and they could all hold their heads high. For 70% of the game they dominated play and through possession football, controlled the tempo of the game right to the end.

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But as is often the case in this game, they came away without any points but certainly restored the pride and confidence we all know they possess.

This was a real team effort – and a platform they could all build upon as we now look to the friendlies being arranged by the hosts during the finals series.

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