PREVIEW AND PREDICTION: Women’s Premier Division First Semi-Final
Written by Phoebe McWilliams
Auburn-Penrith GIANTS vs. Southern Power – Sunday, September 2 at 1pm, Blacktown International Sportspark
The story so far…
Auburn-Penrith – 3
Southern Power – 0
These two sides have played three times this season with Auburn-Penrith taking the chocolates on all three occasions by an average of 19 points.
They even came up against one another in the last round of the home-and-away season, meaning the teams will play twice in two weeks.
Most recently, the Giants won by 29 points with Jacqueline Gay kicking four goals for the winning side.
Three things to consider
1. Where will Renee Tomkins play?
Across the year, Tomkins (or Tonka as she is known) played on the ball, in the ruck, in defence and down forward. She plays where her team needs her height and ball winning abilities.
I feel Tonka will start in the ruck and as long as the Giants are winning, that’s where she will stay. If the Power take the lead, Tonka will most likely be thrown into defence.
Tonka will be key to her side’s success on Sunday.
2. Will the full forwards shine?
Speaking of important players, Rhe Lotter is vital to the Powers’ scoring capabilities. This season, Lotter kicked 23 of her teams 56 goals and finished third in the league’s goal kicking competition. If the Giants pay close attention to Lotter, the Power will need to find other avenues to goal.
At the other end, Melissa Brydon has been impressive for the Giants finishing just behind Lotter in the goal kicking tally with 19 goals for the season.
Which forward will be firing on Sunday?
3. Can the Power stop the dream team of Tomkins, Lael Kassem and Haneen Zreika
All three of these players are dangerous in their own way.
Tomkins, as mentioned previously, is a ball magnet and will win the ball for her side all day. Her long kicks put defenders under pressure. She is also very agile for someone of her height and she won’t think twice about taking players on. Because of her height and strength she’s hard to stop when she gets on the run.
Lael Kassem is a wonderful kick and decision maker. The Power will need to put pressure on Kassem to make it difficult for her to hit up targets.
And probably most importantly, they will need to stop Haneen Zreika who is like a bull at a gate when playing in the midfield. Zreika sees the ball and gets the ball without any thought. Her in-and-under ball winning abilities will be pivotal to her side on Sunday.
What the teams are saying
Auburn-Penrith – Haneen Zreika
“We will need to focus, play for each other and enjoy the moment. When we do that, that’s when we play our best footy.”
Southern Power Captain– Kathryn Hull
“It’s exciting to have earned our Premier Division finals birth after years of building and development. Auburn-Penrith play exciting and explosive football so we need to be first at the footy. While they have had the edge on us all year, we can win the game with our composure and control to outclass them across the park.”
Southern Power Coach – Abraham Caroca
“We’re expecting a tough physical game, as always when you play the Giants, but we’re confident our best is good enough to match it with them. We need to make sure we can turn that on from the start and keep it going for the full four quarters.”
The midfield of Zreika, Kassem and Tomkins will prove too strong for the Power in the end.
Auburn-Penrith by 23 points.