Sunday’s opening round of the 2021 Limestone Coast Football Association Steeline pre-season cup marked a new chapter in women’s soccer around the region and Inter celebrated in style.
After the South East Women’s Football Association joined forces with the LCFA, the female sides got the chance to play on the same pitch and afternoon as the men. Although only one of the two fixtures was possible last weekend after Millicent forfeited its clash against Gambier Centrals, there was nothing diminishing the occasion at Casadio Park.
Boosted by strong support the home team strolled to a 10-2 victory over Apollo to kick off its campaign on the perfect note. After many years of playing on the vast open fields of Blue Lake Sports Park, Inter women’s coach Ricky McRobert said his team had been counting down the days to be surrounded by cars and fans at the cauldron of Casadio Park.
“My team loved being involved on the day having so many people around the club,” he said. “They were super pumped just having the Inter crowd and a great atmosphere behind them. “We had been training since January to copy the boys and were hanging for this first game.”
The Inter players could not have risen to the occasion any better by controlling their fixture from start to finish. The goals were flowing early as the home side raced to a five-goal lead before half time.
Apollo managed to find the back of the net twice through Daylia Daylia and Evie Thompson. However, they did little to stop International’s onslaught with an Ella Doody hat-trick well supported by multiple goals from Stephanie Gilbert and Florencia Llambi.
McRobert said he was more concerned about how his team played after a long break than the overall margin. He found many positives to take away as Inter enjoys a week off before an away game against Millicent.
“It was a really good first hit out and everyone got a run,” McRobert said. “My assumption was Apollo was very undermanned, while we had pretty much a full strength side and scoring was a lot higher than expected.
“Paris Auckland from Apollo was a hard challenge and stood out as a quality player. “But Ella contributed massively towards our game and Steph running in the midfield and not only setting up two goals, but she bagged two goals herself.
“To put 10 in the back of the net was nice, but it was not just about the goals for me. “Charli Hockey held our defensive structure really well and some of the plays and movement were great.”
Having never seen Naracoorte before in the women’s arena, McRobert does not know what to expect in the second round, “Naracoorte is going to be an unknown situation because they have never had a team since I have been involved with women’s soccer and there are a few rumours going around they are quite good,” he said.