Wednesday, August 16 2017 @ 12:50 pm ACST
Contributed by: Frederick Shaibani
The Fiji Vonu team earned an 86-point victory over the European Crusaders at Western Oval in Round 4 of the IC Cup Women’s Division. Playing a fast and aggressive brand of footy, the Vonu were able to shake off a relatively slow start and blow the game wide open, finishing with a dominant performance in a 12.15.87 to 0.1.1 win.
The Vonu started off the IC with two close losses to Great Britain and Canada, but they came into the match against the Crusaders with great momentum after a shutout win over Pakistan in Round 3. The Crusaders had yet to even score a point in their first IC after some rough sledding against the USA, PNG, and Ireland.
From the beginning of the match, the Fijians were outstanding in the midfield, with ruck Matikalena Lawebuka winning numerous hit-outs and taking advantage of their speed as a unit. While the Crusaders tackled and pressured well early on, resulting in some errant kicks from the opposition, the Vonu eventually settled down and took a comfortable six-goal lead at halftime. The athletic Sera Kaukiono used her speed and marking skills to impact the game, while Iliseva Ratudina and Jenifer Goodsir were also influential.
On paper, the Vonu were far more experienced than the Crusaders, but the latter team was able to take advantage of several first-half skill errors, specifically with mis-timed handballs and running bounces. After kicking 2.2 in the first quarter, the Vonu were only 3.5 in the second despite winning a number of contested marks.
The Crusaders’ fullback line did an admirable job in defense (especially France’s Coline Duquet), but their general inability to win clearances off halfback ended up costing them. This was not the case with the Vonu, as classy halfback Matelita Tuilevuka was able to make the most of her possessions and deliver the footy up forward.
Europe had a number of players who got their hands on the footy and helped impact the contest, primarily Berengere Portal and Lara Gauss, the latter of whom took some strong marks. Most notably, the Europeans were unafraid of fighting for loose balls and gathering the crumbs whenever possible. But once again, the Fijians’ athleticism was their calling card, holding the Crusaders scoreless in the second half to take home the victory.
|Western Oval 1:00pm
Fiji vs European Crusaders
|| 12.15 (87)
|| 0.1 (1)
Fiji Vonu Goal Kickers: J. Goodsir 3, I. Ratudina 3, S. Fong 2, M. Tuilevuka 2, L. Wolfgramm, S. Kaukiono
Fiji Vonu Best Players: S. Matakibau, M. Tuilevuka, V. Caginavanua, J. Goodsir, I. Ratudina, S. Fong
European Crusaders Best Players: C. Duquet, S. Jansenovic, A. Barisic, C. Duquet, A. King, A. Finn