NZ Kahu make it five in a row with win over Port Adelaide
24 Nov, 2018
New Zealand Kahu Youth Girls has beaten Port Adelaide’s Women’s Aboriginal AFL Academy (WAAA) by 10 points at a rain-soaked QBE Stadium in Auckland to make it five wins in succession.
Tesharna Maher and Dorena Hansen starred for the WAAA but the Kahu proved too strong at home with Killarney Morey and Kylie McGahan proving dominant.
The sides faced off in battling war dances just before the first bounce, the home side issuing a rousing version of the Haka before the visitors responded with a self-crafted war cry, complete with intimidating pretend spear throws in their opponents’ faces.
The wet and windy conditions made handling the ball difficult in the early stages but the Kahu settled fastest and made the most of the breeze, nailing two early goals through Kylie McGahan.
The crafty forward only took up the game in April and the daughter of All-Black Paul McGahan showed no signs of her inexperience with a clever snap out of the pack for her first before finding herself in acres of space over the back to run into an open goal for her second.
The WAAA forced a scrappy point to finally get on the board around the midway point of the opening quarter but the Kahu responded with another goal when Jasmine Paki found herself free in the goal square after a teammate forced the ball across the face of the goal.
A 17-point quarter time lead quickly became 23-points when Killarney Morey pushed forward from the ruck and kicked a long goal from 35 metres.
The Kahu were playing with 16 players to 15 as well as having five players on the interchange bench – and the extra numbers seemed to be paying dividends, with only some desperate defending from Evelyn Goldsmith and Lauren Pickering preventing a greater margin.
Tesharna Maher was proving busy through the WAAA midfield and she had a chance to boot her side’s first major but after bouncing inside 50 sprayed her shot out on the full.
But Chante Bilney made no mistake from 35 metres after taking a strong mark and when Dorena Hansen pushed forward and snapped a clever goal minutes later, the WAAA suddenly found themselves back in the game.
Morey then involved herself again, showing all her experience by twisting and turning to get away from an opponent in the pocket before straightening and slotting a major.
It was a blow to the WAAA just before the half-time siren, returning the margin to 16 points at the main break.
The Kahu retained the momentum in the third quarter and after a frantic opening, the home side extended the margin through McGahan again.
She was quickest to respond at ground level and kicked the goal off the deck after the WAAA’s Shahleena Martin’s strong defensive spoil in the goal square.
The NZ side went to the last break leading by 25 points with skipper Buell Verkade involving herself across the ground.
The rain became heavier as the final term got underway and Bilney was on hand to boot a second major, giving the WAAA a slight hope of a late comeback.
And when Hansen slotted her first, the margin was back to just 13 points.
With time running out, Goldsmith tried desperately to lift her side, bursting out of the pack and inside 50.
But her long shot bounced through for a behind.
From the kick in, she marked strongly over the top of two other players but her set shot again went through for a behind.
The final siren sounded soon after leaving the Kahu victorious by ten points.
And while the weather was miserable in Auckland, the game was played with such positive spirits and the girls on both sides remained on the oval, sharing hugs and photos in the pouring rain before some exchanged guernseys.
NZ KAHU 6 3 39
WAAA 4 5 29
NZ KAHU: Kylie McGahan 3, Killarney Morey 2, Jasmine Paki
WAAA: Chante Bilney 2, Dorena Hansen, Tyarna Hansen