Round 6 SANH Croatia Women’s
Sesvete Redlegs v Zagreb Panthers
21/09/2019 Sesvete 4:00pm
The final round of the SANH Croatian women’s league is set to be a thriller with the two top sides of the Sesvete Redlegs and Zagreb Panthers ready to battle it out.
This will be the fifth time that these two women’s sides are up against each other in 2019 and although the Redlegs have a three to two win lead for the year, the Panthers are looking to ruin a league celebration for the Redlegs and even up the years encounters.
Currently on top of the ladder, the Redlegs have had an extremely successful year.
Training the hardest out of many teams in Europe has definitely paid off for Sesvete, as every tournament they have competed in so far, they have taken out the top prize.
Sesvete won the Croatian Cup in March, followed by the CEAFL Cup in June and now looking to keep this form, win this weekend and take out the league’s cup.
With up to 18 players having extreme levels of commitment, this amount of practice is really showing in their skills on the field.
“One of the key strengths is that the girls train four times a week and everyone knows each other well. Spending so much time together they move as one on the field and trust each other completely,” said Coach Dinko Irsag.
A great area of improvement has been in their their defence.
Keeping opposition to the lowest of scores, the defensive side of the Redlegs game have helped them get a large lead on the ladder this year.
Another vital piece to this Sesvete side is Sanja Bacelic-Medic in the ruck.
Having not had much experience in the sport earlier in the year, Sanja has taken major strides from her training, to becoming one of the leagues most dominant talls, where she sets up the Redlegs midfield perfectly.
With a lead on the ladder, the Redlegs look poised for the top of the table to end the season and they will come out just as hard as they have all season.
“We’re playing on home turf and we haven’t been beaten there so we’d like to keep it that way,” said Coach Irsag.
The Zagreb Panthers have had an exciting season, tough at times with the new teams in the Croatian league, but when playing their best footy know they can beat anyone.
With the splitting of the clubs across the country, the Panthers initially struggled to find players.
Now with a core group of women, who have all trained hard and got to know each other, they believe the side is at their best now and can beat the in form Redlegs.
With good pace out of the midfield and the fitness to use this pace all game, Zagreb have an exciting team to watch and this will create a high scoring game.
A player that can play in all types of positions, Dora Jakupovic will be one to look out for this weekend.
With her ability to break the lines with speed and classy use of the ball when in possession, Dora is a real on field leader for the Panthers.
Now attempting to even the wins for the year, Panthers Matea Sedlacek knows it will be tough, but believes in this side, “we have a big test in front of us, losing the last time we played, but we know with our improvement that we can get over this Redlegs side this weekend and finish off the season on a high.”
Women’s footy in Croatia has taken major strides this year and with the influx of teams and players, the standard will continually get better and grow.
“The development and commitment of the whole league and the clubs has been great this season. We are all excited to keep this going in the future,” said Matea.
When these two sides meet on Saturday, it will be a tough match up with both teams wanting to finish off the year strongly.
Both sides have a lot to play for, with the Panthers wanting to prove their worth against one of the top clubs and the Redlegs wanting to secure the league cup, this match will come right down to the wire and will be one not to miss.
Stay tuned to next week’s edition of Around the Grounds to see who came out on top!
Special thanks to Fine Wine Partners for their support of the growth of the game throughout Europe.
Liam McAllion – AFL Europe