The AFL Indigenous Woomeras have defeated the U18 New Zealand Kahu, showing great skill and tenacity across the game.
While large periods of the match saw the Woomeras dominate, the Kahu were very competitive at times.
The match started with a flurry of points to the Woomeras, but by the end of quarter, the Kahu had achieved parity and were stringing together kicks and marks.
The next quarter saw the Wooomeras reassert control, with Leashay Warburton kicking 3 goals. The damage was limited by the rock solid Kayla Paniora at fullback for the Kahu.
Goals continued to flow for the Woomeras, with the electric Shaleise Fisher and Kiara Cooper leading the scoring with 6 goals apiece. The Woomeras forwards were supported by a fantastic midfield, in particular Paige Baksh who both provided plenty of assists for the goalscorers.
Kiara Cooper earned her team’s Best on Ground Award, and special praise from the coaching staff for her all round effort, with Head Coach Jason Mifsud describing her as among “the top 10 players for her age in Australia.”
Other players who were impressive for the Woomeras included the lightning quick Courtney Hodder, who was the other Woomeras player awarded a Best on Ground trophy, and the athletic midfielder Imahra Cameron.
The creative Woomeras constantly improvising and innovating new ways to score points. The goal of the day came in the 2nd quarter, with Shaleise Fisher showing incredible skill to flick a kick over her head and straight through the posts under heavy defensive pressure.
Kahu Head Coach Lisa Roper noted the match as a great example of an unknown style of play of play to what the New Zealanders were used to.
“That was an incredible display of Indigenous Football, and that’s something you can’t teach.”
The 3rd and 4th quarter followed a similar pattern on the scoreboard, with the Kahu unable to register a score throughout the match.
However, many of their more experienced players stood up during the match. Captain Hope Schuster led from the front, making intelligent and tactically aware decisions. Dayna Harris was fearsome shepherding her teammates, and Setareh Brown exemplified the unconquarable spirit and physicality of the Kahu team.
International debutants also made their mark on the game, with Ivy Kapeli Esera showing strong skills and athleticism, and Alexandria AhChee-Wilson constantly finding ways to involve herself in the game.
With the first game completed, the teams will regroup and prepare for their next match, to take place at Parrs Park in Auckland on Sunday.
Result and Goalscorers
AFL Indigenous Woomeras: 26.16:172
U18 New Zealand Kahu: 0.0:0
AFL Indigenous Woomeras: Shaleise Fisher (6) Kiara Cooper (6) Leashay Warburton (4) Imahra Cameron (3) Desiree Atkinson, Ella Wonaeamirri, Paige Baksh, Klarindah Hudson, Jordan Mifsud, Winona Greenhalgh, Kiarnie Jennings
Best on Ground Awards:
Presented by U18 NZ Kahu: Courtney Hodder (Woomeras) and Ivy Kapeli-Esera (Kahu)
Presented by AFL Indigenous Woomeras: Kayla Paniora (Kahu) and Kiara Cooper (Woomeras)