Monday, October 19, 2009

Enter Sasha

Enter Sasha McDonnell, the first professional woman player who caught my attention, somewhat by accident a few years ago. One of the reasons I came across her was she's a Brisbane girl, so I was mightily annoyed last year when she signed with Canberra.

Sasha (second from left) just after her goal

The way I discovered she had signed for Brisbane this season, believe it or not, was Wikipedia, which also had the W-League table updated before the official A-League site. Sasha is still not on the team web page.

She wasn't even on the bench for the first game. She did play away last week against Melbourne and apparently had a good game, but I was very happy when, at 0:0, they gave her a go in the 81st minute yesterday against the Mariners. Two minutes later, with her first touches, she scored the winning goal.

She's a poacher not a play maker, but she looks great, is very fast and is clearly a handful for defenders. My honest view is Sasha is not as versatile or as capable of making plays as Courtney Beutel, say. But love isn't always rational.

Congratulations Sasha for scoring your first goal for your home town's team. May there be many more.

I went to Ballymore yesterday alone and it was, once again, an entirely positive experience. Yes I love the team but I also fall further in love with the stadium every time.

Having a smoke at half time I got chatting to another smoker, as you do. He unashamedly told me he never went to the men's games because he hated public transport and it cost too much. But his daughter was a footballer who played for Oz U19s. He told me a RUMOUR. I'd never heard it, it concerned me, and just in case it's true I thought I better write it.

He said that there was someone with money ready to put a lot of money into a QUEENSLAND women's team next year. That the competition would still be 8 teams but that the GC and Brisbane at least would be combining for the W-League. If this is true, it a) sucks, and b) will leave me with no reason to have an orange scarf at all. (For the time being, I'm guessing for a month or two, I just couldn't be bothered with the men.)

My own dream is that enough BRISBANE people support these girls - possibly Brisbane's most successful and in-form sporting team at this time - to make a change a big risk. I sometimes wonder if football administrators don't need a workshop on how tribalism works. Sure you can make a fluffy competition and hope it's a good option for family family types on a Sunday afternoon. But it's going to be the most fickle audience in the world. And who is going to tattoo "South East Queensland" on their chest? BRISBANE is its own cult, and if we want fan bases that a) grow, and b) stick around, the only chance of doing so is around a civic cult.

Just incidentally, exactly which 'families' are we going for? I come with my son and his mates to games, but I swear, drink and generally believe that a good dose of wickedness is essential for an ethical life. Where are these morally pure families that will be offended at unchristian behaviour? If they do exist, are they really a fan base?

Anyway I hope the rumour is wrong, but if it's right, you read it here first.

Found a great women's soccer website: Girls With Game.

Incidentally, Jacob's Indoor team won 18:0 on Saturday, their third straight win. Satisfying of course, but not as rivetting as a hard-fought 2:1 win.

On other private news, I'm worried about my beautiful fiance Dawn. She seems to like soccer. That could either mean that, a) she's as mad as I am, or b) she loves me very much. Either interpretation is fine.

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Blogger dawn said...

Oh no! I would HATE for Brisbane and GC to combine when I have so recently discovered and pledged my commitment to the W-League generally, but the Roar particularly. and even though I hate orange and maroon together (whose idea was THAT??), and was very luke warm about the moniker 'Roar'(until fb friends alerted me to the Helen Reddy connection - they are women, haer them roar), I am an absolute fan of Brisvegas and so excited to be moving 'home' from Perth at xmas. And that's where I think you absolutely right Hamish - I want to support a BRISBANE team in a WORLD GAME.
Oh and as for Dawn either loving soccer or Hamish, it's not an either/or dichotomy but a both-and manouvre :-)
love your work Hamish.

October 19, 2009 7:13 pm  
Blogger Merryn Sherwood said...

Hello Hamish, thankyou for leaving a comment on my blog and the kind link. I am still trying to work out this whole 'blog' thing, but am in the process of putting together a whole lot of links and will link back to you as well.
Great post re Sasha. She is definitely a handful but unfortunately she copped a very badly sprained ankle against the Jets in Round 1 last year. Before that, she scored Canberra's first goal from a corner and was EVERYWHERE and pretty amazing. For the rest of the season she played with a sore ankle and with painkilling injections and never quite reached her peak again. Now that she has had a chance for Brisbane, hopefully she will be able to get there again, fully fit. Brisbane only signed her two days before the season started as no other club had taken her.
Also, the Brisbane Roar women's team is basically a Queensland team anyway. Currently about 6 or 8girls in the squad travel from the GC to train in Brisbane most days. There isn't a Gold Coast women's team, they are already in Brisbane, so they couldn't combine them - they are the same team already.

October 20, 2009 1:50 pm  
Blogger Hamish said...

Thanks Merryn for the extra info on Sasha.

Your blog was a brilliant discovery for me, as you appear to me to fill an otherwise empty niche. I will be reading your round-reviews and round-wraps each week for as long as you keep it up. I know how much love and effort goes into them.

Thanks for the reassurance re: an amalgamation of GC and Brisbane. But are you certain there is no name change or major kit change on the cards for the team, in the name of some placation of the egos at the GC? The fact that many of the team are actually from the coast doesn't reassure me in itself.


October 20, 2009 3:08 pm  

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