Joondalup United’s first ever girls team took to the park last Sunday and faced Rockingham United in the Smarter Than Smoking 14s Division Three.
According to coach Rob McCullagh, JUFC put in a superb performance and were competitive throughout, with the score locked at a goal apiece until the closing stages before Rockingham scored twice to claim three points.
“As well as being a very young team for the 14s age group put together at the eleventh hour, there was a variety of experience levels with most having played just one season,” he said.
“I mention this not as an excuse, because none is required, and the girls did us all proud and exceeded expectations.”
The first half saw JUFC dominate possession in Rockingham territory and McCullagh was delighted with their discipline in terms of structure and shape, which they had worked on in training ahead of the game.
The only thing missing was a goal and, despite controlling the game after half time, they went behind as the home side found the net after a counter attack.
JUFC responded quickly, with Lily Hamilton providing the assist for Catie McCullagh to score her first goal for her new club.
Unfortunately, fatigue kicked in for JUFC with eight minutes to as Rockingham began to play more direct football.
The long balls up the middle caught out the JUFC midfield and created space in behind where there had been none previously, and couple of powerful finishes from Rockingham gave them a 3-1 win.
“The game was played in great spirit and while the girls deserved to get at least a point from the match,” said McCullagh.
“This is really beside the point as a mixed bunch of girls, who in some cases had not even met each other until less than a week ago, turned up on the day looking like a football team that had been in training for weeks and represented the club admirably.”
While every player played their part in a good performance, McCullagh was pleased with the efforts of Nadia Godley who worked tirelessly on the wing and caused Rockingham all sorts of problems with her speed, endurance and touch.
Godley is regarded as one of the best track and field athletes in the country for her age and will be a handful for any opposition.
Lily Hamilton, who only joined the group just last week, put together a composed, very strong performance as the team’s number 8, and bagged an assist on the goal for her troubles.
At just 11 years of age, Nicole Ward played her first ever full pitch game and showed a composure and maturity beyond her years in the midfield engine room.
“All told, it was a very fine performance from the girls and with so much we can build on and refine,” said McCullagh.
“We are very excited for the rest of the season and would encourage the club faithful to come out to support our first ever girls team this Sunday when we will have the chance to turn the tables on Rockingham at home!”
All the best to the girls in this week’s fixture which takes place at Prince Regent Park (12pm kick off).