Just one week after the disappointment of the Steeline Cup grand final, Gambier Centrals Lions have roared back to winning ways with gusto.
In the opening round of the first Steeline Limestone Coast Football Association Senior Women’s season after the SEFWA era, Gambier Centrals found its finest form.
Coming up against an undermanned Apollo outfit at MGA Park, the Lions were at their best cruising to a 10-2 win.
The triumph was sparked from the home side’s lightning start which created a remarkable seven goals before half time.
Gambier Centrals’ coach Scott Dixon said it was an important landmark for the new team and the visitors’ unavailability opened up scoring chances.
“Everybody did their job really well, so it was a great start to the season,” he said.
“Unfortunately Apollo started the game with less than 11 players, so we were able to capitalise on the free space and get off to a bit of a flyer.
“I think we were five goals up within the first 20 minutes, so it was a really good all-round team effort.” The destructive pair of Olivia Gwilym and Erin Horsnell inflicted the most pain for the visitors and were almost impossible to stop near the box.
Despite playing the midfield, nothing held back Gwilym from scoring four goals, while Horsnell remained a constant threat around the net and recorded a hat-trick of her own.
But they were not the only ones to find the back of the net with Danika Picken also scoring two successful, while Sophie Alexander recorded her first goal of 2021.
In the second half Apollo managed to control the bleeding with two late goals courtesy of Zoe Brooksby.
However, that failed to diminish the fact it was very much the day to be a Lion.
Dixon said the formidable season-opening performance was a significant step forward for many of the new faces in the group.
“We have got a developing team with a lot of new players, but they made a really positive impact,” he said.
“We welcomed the Alexander twins in Sophie and Alice with Ashleigh Spicer and Rachel Muzaliwa, who have been really good and are all new to the game.
“Ash played fullback and midfield on the weekend and Leoinie Robertson is another Under 16, who has had a fantastic start to the season.
“We welcomed Emma O’Callaghan back into the line-up after she was unavailable for two weeks and made a massive difference.
“Bringing Janaye Donaldson back to the club after two years away has been vital with her experience.” It was a triumphant return to form for Gambier Centrals after it could not achieve a dream Steeline Cup victory at home.
The side could not keep up with a determined Blue Lake United outfit and lost a hard-fought game 4-2.
Dixon said the team learnt from the disappointment by shaking the game plan up with inaccuracy the major concern and it paid off.
“We changed our structure this weekend based on the players we have and they picked it up quite quickly,” he said.
“We had an awful lot of chances to put the ball in the back of the net during the cup final and did not do that and paid the ultimate price.
“You cant have 25 shots in a half and score just two and be happy.
“Also we conceded two penalties in the final and another on the weekend, so that is something we need to work on.
“We will be a different team next time around.” Apart from the four Under 16 players off to the state championships in Adelaide, the Lions squad enjoys a break before travelling to Naracoorte in round 2 on Sunday, June 20.
With Naracoorte fielding a women’s team for the first time, Dixon looks forward to the battle and wishes his future opponents all the best.
“We have supported Naracoorte’s inclusion into the league for quite some time and have a wonderful relationship,” he said.
“We look forward to playing against them and wish them all the best for the season ahead.” Around the grounds, 2021 LCFA Steeline Cup premiers Blue Lake United continued its golden form.
In appalling conditions, the Sean Fulton led team had no trouble finding the net early, recording five goals before the change of ends.
The speed and polish of Lauren and Chelsea Frost once again proved tough to handle for the Millicent defence with five goals between the sisters, while Adele Wilkinson also scored.
Naracoorte’s debut LCFA Premiership Cup game party was spoiled by a fearsome International outfit.
Inter showed off its talent with seven individuals contributing to the huge 14-0 win.
Stephanie Gilbert was the chief destroyer with a big bag of five goals.