Jess Manning starred for Forest Lions U/18 division two girls on Sunday, her signature “wheel and go” move used time and again in her team’s 36-11 win over brave Inner West Magpies at Lionel Watts Oval.
Manning dominated the Magpies from centre-half-back coupling her signature play with a singular ability to read the play.
Lions coach Paul Godsell said Manning is “a phenomenal half backline player”.
Elsewhere Bella Dale, a first-season player continued to evolve her game, performing really well in the mid-field, hitting the line running.
“She was a key player this round,” Godsell said.
“She controlled the play and opened up opportunities with her support play.”
Hannah Ryan is another player in her debut season. Yet you wouldn’t have been able to tell as she dominated the ruck and performed her role in the mid-field with aplomb.
Abi Finch showcased her ability to outrun her opponent, doing really well to get into supportive positions and create goal opportunities.
And Lily Stracey, known for her hard-hitting tackles, didn’t stray from that this game. Stracey was given multiple roles across the four quarters and played them all brilliantly, highlighting her great utility value and “coachability”, according to Godsell.
Yet the definite – and quite unexpected – highlight of the win was a 60-metre goal kicked by Kirah Godsell that sent her team-mates rushing from everywhere with congratulations.
A big shout-out to the Magpies who came to the centre circle with only twelve players and no bench against Forest’s bench of eight girls.
Despite this the Inner West girls played a strong and competitive game and kept the Lions scoreless until late in the second quarter.
After the match coach Godsell commended the entire Forest team.
“The game showed that in both new and experienced players there is so much capability and also so much to learn,” he said.