OLD IGNATIANS WOMEN'S
Old Ignatians Football Club Women's team started life as an idea pitched to the club committee in late 2017. The girls had gathered plenty of interested players to join and guaranteed to fill a team every week. The club was onboard from the very start and from there it was just a matter of putting the pieces together to make it happen.
Among a bunch of administrative things to organise, the search for a coach was a priority. When club ex-President and Life Member Tom Sexton was approached the girls all knew he was the right person for the job.
It's important to note that the majority of the girls had extremely limited football experience leading into the season. Some had never kicked a footy before and a lot needed to be taught the rules of the game. It provided a unique challenge to the coaching staff but the enthusiasm and eagerness to learn from the group was fantastic to see.
With that in mind here's where the fairytale begins. The team had their first trial match in which they needed spare players from the opposition to fill a team on the day. Being their first real match, expectations were subdued and although the girls were outplayed on the day, the overwhelming response was how much fun they had.
After the first trial match at Karen Rolton Oval
With the nervous first match out of the way it was all eyes on Round 1 but before that, the club Family Day was held and the girls were presented with their own guernsey's and Airlie Walters named as the inaugural captain of the team. A proud moment for all involved.
Jumper presentation at Family Day
Now on to Round 1 vs Adelaide Lutheran. There was a lot of nervous energy in the air as the girls jogged out onto Park 21, but as the warm up drills got underway the positivity among the group calmed the nerves. A crowd of family and friends had gathered on the warm April afternoon to watch club history in the making and as the game got underway it was like everything they had learnt in pre season started to click.
Lili Gambranis takes the accolade of being the first goal scorer for the team and it was all one way traffic from there. The match ending Adelaide Lutheran 0.0-0 def by Old Ignatians Women's 7.10-52
Round 1 post game team photo
As the season continued, game after game the resounding feedback from the spectators was the level of improvement they were seeing from the team. Not only were the girls winning a lot of matches, they were enjoying playing footy and improving their skills.
It became clear early on in the season who the strong teams in the division were and the girls faced a couple of grudge matches against Pulteney and Scotch OC unfortunately losing both matches. That seemed to spark a fire in the team who then went on to win 9 of the next 10 matches!
The ladder at the end of the season looked like this:
Looking at that ladder you would assume that Scotch OC had the premiership in the bag. Undefeated all season, the only match they were truly challenged was round 12 vs our girls who were in front the whole game until late in the last quarter Scotch OC stole the win.
That loss hurt the team a lot but I feel the heartbreaking 3 point defeat was the catalyst for what was to come in the next month. The following round they came out and kicked their highest score of the season (17.15-117) then wrapped up the minor round with a 9 goal win vs Mt Lofty to lock in 2nd spot on the ladder.
Finals time was here and the early season nerves had well and truly gone. The vast improvement of the team over the season gave the girls an air of confidence in their abilities leading to the semi final vs Scotch OC.
There were eerie similarities with the round 12 clash which kept the big crowd on the edge of the seat right to the final siren. Scotch OC threw everything they had at us but our girls hung on for a memorable 3 point win to book a spot in the Grand Final.
Singing the song after defeating
Scotch OC in the Semi Final.
Grand Final day at Aldi Arena (Thebarton Oval) on the 19th August 2018 vs Kenilworth had the whole club buzzing. The week leading up, the girls had their best training sessions of the season with record numbers on the track and Saturday night was subdued for the first time all year with the importance of the Grand Final dawning on the group.
The huge crowd packed in to Thebby eagerly awaiting the first bounce. It was fantastic to see such great support for the team with people arriving in the club guernsey's, club polo tops, club jackets and even some sporting custom made player badges!
You can watch the match via the attached YouTube clip below. Our girls were fantastic all day. Defenders were stopping every Kenilworth attack and the midfield and forwards took every opportunity when they could. It was a tough match and credit to the girls for putting on a great performance for all the fans.
Few would have thought at the start of the year this group who had never played footy before would be raising the trophy at the end of the season, but massive credit to all the girls involved, the coaches, the physio staff and all the family and friends who were at all the regular season games cheering them on.
The fairytale complete, Old Ignatians Football Club history was made and we couldn't be more proud! As you can imagine, celebrations at Club Major Sponsor, The Bath Hotel, went long into the night and the days following the party continued. Well deserved for a dedicated and hard working team.
As a result of their win, a shake up of the Women's competition meant OIWFC have been promoted from Division 5 to Division 3 for the 2019 season. We're looking forward to fun and positive year from the girls!
2018 Division 5 Women's PREMIERS!!!