Brilliant Braz helps Collingwood get back on track
COLLINGWOOD got back on the AFL Women’s winners list on Saturday with a confidence boosting win over Essendon.
One player whose performance will not get talked about much but still played a crucial role in the win was Pies forward Ash Brazill.
Although she did not rack up too many disposals, finishing with only the seven to her name, her influence stretched much further than a typical seven disposal game would have.
“She’s been like that most of her season actually,” Collingwood coach Steve Symonds said post game
“Brazzy’s not one that’s going to be strong on the stats sheet, but the way she runs and pressures down and breaks the game open when she gets it. She’s very smart, moves the ball quickly but she hacks so quickly and she can get meterage straight away from the contest really quickly, which opens up the game for us.”
“So she’s been very important for us, and she’s traditionally in the past played more in defence, but we’re trying to think we can her as a forward, ad she’s been loving the challenge. She’s been wing defence for most of her netball career so be able to have a forward mindset now is something she’s really enjoying and she’s up for the challenge. Has she nailed it? No, she hasn’t but she’s up for the challenge. She’s just got to get better in that role.”
Watching Brazill on a football field, whether in defence or attack, it is clear her netball career has given her transferable skills for Australian Rules.
Her defensive pressure is top notch. Even when the ball is in Collingwood’s attack, she is always present and providing that pressure, both directly and indirectly.
She also provided plenty of influence with ball in hand.
As Symonds alluded to in his post match comments, one kick from Brazill is all it takes sometimes to really open up the contest.
A prime example of this was in the first quarter, when a long kick forward from Brazill in the middle of the oval set up a sprinting Alana Porter to run onto the ball and slot through Collingwood’s second goal of the quarter, which allowed them to take a confidence boosting lead into quarter time.
Her metres gained was also an impressive tally. She finished with 221m gained, which was the sixth highest on the field, and second highest on the ground among the non-midfielders behind only Bonnie Toogood.