Way back in 1996 Tony Lockett, amid the cacophony of a bumper SCG crowd, catapulted the Sydney Swans into a new era with a 55-metre behind after the siren that sealed a one-point preliminary final win over Essendon, and a decider berth with it.
It was a grand final appearance that only the most optimistic of Sydney fans thought possible that year, and while it wasn’t in a game of quite of the same magnitude boom Orange Tigerettes’ recruit Bec Ford had her very own Plugger moment on Saturday.
Her last-gasp snap was five seconds before full-time rather than after it and it was from just inside the 50 rather than just outside, it also wasn’t a set shot, but nonetheless the result was the same.
A behind, one that secured her side a remarkable upset victory that in the context of the 2018 Central West AFL season, could be a campaign-defining.
The 5.10.40 – 6.3.39 victory was the Tigerettes’ first over a top three side this season, and proves the developing side could make an impact from fourth come finals time.
Ford’s shot completed a stunning fourth-quarter turnaround too. The Tigerettes trailed by 14 points at the final break but ran over the top of the lagging Demons, kicking two goals three and keeping the visiting Dubbo side scoreless.
That effort, Emma Clark says, was born from stand-in skipper Jacqui Harris’ three-quarter-time rev-up.
“She was saying we can still win it, just get it forward as quick as possible and get it to Erin (Naden) in the middle so she can use her speed,” Clark explained, lauding Harris’ ability to ramp the side up in the clutch.
“We were so excited, we were really happy because Dubbo are a decent team and to get a win over them was special.
“Everyone played really well, our midfield kept theirs in check, they kept them really quiet in that last quarter to get the ball deep into the forward line.”
Dubbo are a decent team and to get a win over them was special.Tigerettes star Emma Clark
Dubbo was short of players and the clash was played out tactically, with 13-a-side rather than 18. With both sides using four players up front, at the back and in the middle, the Tigerettes chose to run their last as a wing while the Demons used their’s as a loose halfback.
That decision proved a fruitful one for the hosts, it allowed the Orange outfit to lock the ball inside their attacking 50 for virtually all of the last quarter.
Having “six or seven” reserves compared to the Demons’ empty bench helped too, Clark said.
The victory also came without skipper Renee Cullis and her husband Ben, who coaches the side, on deck, which only serves to give the side more belief.
Both sides started well but the Demons’ accuracy in front of goal earned a two-point lead at the first break, the visitors kicked two goals straight to the Tigers’ one, with four behinds.
Dubbo had stretched that lead to eight points by the main break and kicked two goals two to the Tigers’ one goal two in the third term, extending the margin to 14 points and threatening to hand the Orange side its fourth loss in the last five weeks.
Instead the home side lifted to pick up a second consecutive victory, which provides a huge boost leading into another big challenge this weekend against the Bathurst Giants.
It’s a game that has plenty of extra meaning for the Tigers, they’ll be playing for the Katrina Hobby Memorial Shield, named after the former Tigerettes vice-captain who lost her battle with cancer last year.
- ORANGE TIGERETTES 5.10.40 (Nita Noble, Alayne White, Jenny Whiley, Emma Clark, Bec Ford goals) def DUBBO DEMONS 6.3.39 (Lauren Hazell 2, Matilda Asser, Trudy Sloane, Emily Warner, Eloise Hiller-Stanbrook