State quarter-final Puma Trophy

Back row - Sophie Russell, Mia Craggs, Shellby Osland, Ashley Sticker, Hannah Watt, Jordan Healy, Willow Neal, Sophie Boyd, Emily Ruming
Front row - Elena Leek, Arki Daro, Tallara Doye, Lauren Rigney, Kelsey Williamson-Leslie
Back row - Sophie Russell, Mia Craggs, Shellby Osland, Ashley Sticker, Hannah Watt, Jordan Healy, Willow Neal, Sophie Boyd, Emily Ruming Front row - Elena Leek, Arki Daro, Tallara Doye, Lauren Rigney, Kelsey Williamson-Leslie

The Bellingen High School open girls football team had to travel to Sydney to play in the state quarter-final of the Puma Trophy against Burwood Girls HS.  

The girls travelled down on Thursday August 2 and stayed over night ready to play the next morning at the field at 10am. Upon arriving at the field it was a bit of an eye opener as many things were different including the fact that there was no technical area and no team bench. We found a park bench, which served the purpose. The opposing team sat with their supporters, coaches and everyone else some 20-30m from half way.

It was also with great surprise that one of our players was denied the right to play due to a mistaken understanding of the rules by the referee.

The game started and the Bellingen girls took a while to settle making some uncharacteristic mistakes allowing Burwood to put pressure on our goal.  The defence, however, stayed strong and denied Burwood from scoring. However once the nerves settled the girls started putting their passing game together and Sophie Boyd was put into a bit of space with a pass by Willow Neal and made no mistake finishing. This put us in front 1-0.

It is worthwhile mentioning that the Burwood captain Tori Tumeth has already represented Australia in International games and is one of the Emerging Matildas. Sophie Boyd was given the job of marking Tori. Tori referred to Sophie as her shadow, and she was not impressed by Sophie’s dogged defence. Needless to say Sophie did an amazing job.

Unfortunately it was Burwood who scored next goal while key defender Emily Ruming was on the bench. This put the half time score to 1-1. The second half was a fairly torrid battle with both teams setting up opportunities to score without capitalising. Another Burwood player was injured and while the coach was on the field, three of the Burwood players left the field to have a drink and chat with friends. This would be a yellow card offence in our neck of the woods. Amazingly it was fine with the referees.

Full time came with the score still at 1-1. This put the game in to sudden death extra time. Again both teams had opportunities to score, however, it was Burwood who finally scored after nine minutes following some sustained pressure on the goal. The game was a close game and could have gone either way but it was not Bellingen’s game today.

The coach was more than happy with the girl’s display of determination and skill.  Players of the match went to Tallara Doye in goals who was amazing and Sophie Boyd (aka The Shadow) who came out on top of her opponent! Special mention must be made for two girls who have now played their last game for Bellingen HS. Jordan Healy and Hannah Watt have played football for the high school for six years and have been the backbone of this team throughout this campaign. They love the game and have been great leaders and role models throughout the years. Finally a special thank you to Greg McLeod from Bellingen, Dorrigo and Urunga Taxis for driving us down and back safely and looking after his ‘family’. Also thanks to Paulline, Sandra and Lynette for their help and support during the trip.