2019 – By The Numbers

Everyone is on the decade ender bandwagon. I wish I could bring you an epic one that could tell the tale of women’s football in this country, to speak on the pioneers, the growth, hardship and love over the last ten years. 

However, ten years ago I was falling out of love with the game. The 2011 World Cup in Germany was the last tournament I paid proper attention to until four years later in Canada. Then I returned to football like a fish back in the water. 

So the reality is, I’ve missed a HUGE chunk of football. Add on the accessibility to watch more than one match a season has only really unlocked since last season in Australia makes it difficult to even do a half decade dash. Our game deserves knowledge, and justice to the last ten years that I’m unable to provide.

 

So instead, here is a wrap of 2019 by the numbers. It was massive.

(Also watch out, the end of the Roaring 20’s I’m bound to have a brilliant decade ender ok)

Thirty five soccer matches live. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but when only four are ‘at home’ in Launceston it’s a big number.

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The first game at my “home” patch. A photo taken moments before the grey clouds wandered in and dealt us the heavy hand of rain with the gusty winds. I love a good underdog game and this had the makings for one. A northern championship side against a high flying state league team. The magic of the cup bringing this match to my backyard. Meaning I finally visit the Northern Rangers. The fairy tale wasn’t meant to be. Experience won out, with goals scored in vital moments for a comprehensive Zebras win. Still it’s getting to watch people who stick around in the bucketing windy conditions that I love being a part of. Even if it means praying for the rain to hold off an extra 10 minutes to make it to half time, then using a scarf to protect my precious laptop when the shelter couldn’t protect us. As I keep finding at each ground I go to, I’m welcomed after the match to some food and chats from both camps. We talk about the game, both on the field and happenings around it. At some point it comes to my attention not everyone knows what a Chiko roll is. I know, mind boggling. Getting to spend time speaking to a small group from the Rangers after everyone was leaving around us, some time well after the final whistle, makes me want to come back and watch what the side can do on the pitch on a better day. Because the way they speak about their approach to the game is a fresh of breathe air and something to get behind. To the magic of the Cup.

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There was a lot of travel.

Eleven trips down the Midland Highway to Hobart, burning 4,400 kms of rubber, translating to 50 hours mindlessly driving down the always roadwork splattered stretch. 

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There are moments I wait for and wonder whether it’ll actually happen. On Saturday it did. In a pumping crowd of green and yellow, loud kids who were cheering on the home side as if it were a Cup final, I spotted something special. THIS official Matildas Logarzo jersey. With time ticking down during the half time break, out of the corner of my eye I see this jersey. With a moments hesitation and trying to resist, I promptly find myself standing up to introduce myself to the wearer of the shirt I’m admiring. Meet Anna. She plays at the Zebras, is often found on the park with their Senior youth girls side and was so kind to let me take a photo of the name and number on her back. If you’re wondering why I’m fan girling hard, here’s why. Because normally I’m that person wearing or talking about the player who isn’t the obvious “Sam Kerr” star of a team. To have a Logarzo shirt means you know the Matildas and you’re likely trying to find out ways to watch as many World Cup games as possible like I am. (Note: if you’re at school head to Optus and they’ll hook you up) It was a really special day at Darcy Street. Hearing the crowd cheering, with the back and forth between the groups barracking for South and the Zebras. All to say Allez Matildas. But gee, for me, it was meeting Anna with a Logarzo jersey that absolutely made my week (easily month if not for the World Cup). I really hope I see Anna around again to find out whether she prefers Logarzo playing up front or in midfield.

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To the other end of the state, seven matches in the North West. Trips to Ulverstone and one to Devonport equaling over 1,500 kilometres, that’s over ten hours of looking navigating the windy Bass Highway and a few of those in downpour, dark and windy conditions.

Add it all together for local matches, it’s about 6,000 kms. The same as Ulverstone’s regular season with no Cup matches included. While the average Hobart side road trips for 1,200 kms. 

In eight trips across Bass Strait, four to Melbourne, the other half to Sydney, that’s about 9,000 kms. Breaking down to 4 regular season W-League matches, a Grand Final, two Victorian NPLW games, a sneaky preseason match and a Matildas game.

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SOMETHING SPECIAL – MATILDAS v CHILE

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The travel is equivalent is roughly Sydney to Perth and back, plus a one way ticket. Really it’s just 20 hours in a plane seat.

The total number of kilometres driven or flown? Over 15,000.

 

To watch football is why I did it.

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It’s all about the moments. There were so many of them on Saturday that I lost count. Here’s ten. 1. Being embraced as I walked into the ground. Legit, big bear hug (I’m looking at you Carolyn Ferrier and Olivia Leon) 2. Watching Karen Wills explain to one of her players an aspect of the game. In her element. 3. The Zebra’s senior girls watching and supporting the Ressies. It’s the small things, but supporting your club matters. 4. Andrea Perry scoring. There’s not much better than a mate bagging a goal. 5. The packed house. Who said local football is dead? It was anything but at KGV. 6. Getting to be a back seat bogan to cover the biggest game of the season. Blogging with a side of commentary. My element. 7. The DK v Madi Chambers delight. A shake up to the norm and it was captivating to watch. 8. A worldie free kick and Olivia Bomford’s face when talking about it post match. Same face as when she scored it. Stoked. 9. The Zebras experience on the park somehow winning the match for them. It’s all about goals, and they were clinical. 10. The feast after the match. Unfortunately no chiko rolls were consumed. But I love nothing more than shared food and footy. The last match of the 2019 Women’s Super League. It didn’t disappoint.

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Thirty five in total sees over three thousand minutes of football. In that time, 126 goals were scored. Goalkeepers kept 18 clean sheets, part of me was wishing for more. Only one match was goalless, oddly enough that was at home in Launceston during a men’s NPL game.

Four ‘double header’ weekends in Hobart. I’ve not included the few Southern Championship matches I may or may not have snuck in before the Women’s Super League kick offs. 

 

And writing. So much writing.

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Some games are beautiful to watch but difficult to put down on paper. It’s a bit like realising your shoe laces aren’t tied the moment you put your goalie gloves on but then turning out a blazing good performance. That’s what happened this weekend. Of course I wound up at the Den once again, my feet just lead me there yeah. Kingborough, you guys turned. It. Out. With that high press. And Olympia? Mate. More of that tactical genius to come please, false nine this week, what’s next week? We’re now four weeks down and I’ve seen over 1,000 km’s of road. Whoever said Tasmania is a small place hasn’t lived outside of Hobart and tried to follow the WSL around. I might try chasing some Northern Champ action closer to home next weekend though!

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In total I clocked up 143 pieces. There’s no point counting the drafts, edits and few that never see the light of day. There’s interviews, analysis, rants (so many rants and ramblings), match reports and so so so many food analogies and puns.

The bulk have hit the web here, on Molly’s Footy Rants. Including this one, I’ll hit 92. While at Beyond 90, out of the gates with a ripping amount in the first month meant I sailed to 26 (not including podcasts). There were two spills over at The Women’s Game before the switch to Beyond 90. 

Locally, I’m counting 22 with Slice of Cheese (AKA Football Tasmania). There’s many instagram write ups that aren’t included in the numbers, but we can leave them. Included in the 22 was live blogging or being part of the commentary team on the rare streamed match.

While my proudest and toughest piece was with The Guardian. The stress-filled match where the Matildas kicked themselves out of the tournament was the one I watched closest, trying to judge all the players on the park while managing the heartache and the tight deadline. 

March and June were both huge months. Somehow managing 21 write ups in them. No idea how I hit those numbers, apparently you can’t shut me up though.

 

The year that was 2019. Honestly it probably wasn’t the bumpiest year out, but it was the busiest when a new Monday to Friday job with late-ish hours are thrown into the mix in a new town. All the emotions, travel, the hours of lost sleep have taught when to reach out to the people around me. I couldn’t have accomplished half of what I’ve done this year without family and friends. The amount of time, advice and most importantly love those close with me have provided is countless. So thank you. 

 

2020’s adventure is shaping up to look a little different. I’ll be studying a Masters of Teaching full time, as well as working in the job I love here in Launceston. Finding a balance between work, study, football and breathing will very likely see my travelling time slashed.

But eyes on the big prize yeah.

There’s a piece I’ve just started working in that I can’t wait to share with you. So see you in the New Year xx

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