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Gemma Dix best on ground on the big stage but State side claims honours

Jake Santa MariaMidwest Times
Emilee Bevan, Jasmine Johansen, Gemma Dix, Tayah Palmer and Jessica Giudice-Nairn
Camera IconEmilee Bevan, Jasmine Johansen, Gemma Dix, Tayah Palmer and Jessica Giudice-Nairn Credit: Nathan Johansen

The WA country women’s team put in a spirited effort but were ultimately outclassed by their State under-18 counterparts at Optus Stadium on Sunday.

In a warm-up for the State under-18s side ahead of their national championships, the squad triumphed over the WA country women’s team 6.5 (41) to 0.2 (2) in slippery conditions.

The WA country women’s team was on the back foot early, conceding four first-quarter goals in the inaugural meeting between the two representative teams.

Mid West players Gemma Dix, Jessica Giudice-Nairn, Emilee Bevan and Jasmine Johansen all experienced the Optus Stadium turf as the country team’s controlled physicality turned the game into an arm wrestle.

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The majority of play was in the country team’s forward line during the second term, but the visitors were unable to get a reward for effort.

As the greasy conditions worsened, so did the free-flowing football as the State under-18s flooded the backline to overwhelm the country team’s offence.

In the end, the state squad’s fast start was too much for the country side and will take in confidence ahead of the national championships, which Mid West star Tayah Palmer will be a part of.

Despite the loss, WA country coach Gemma Harrison was pleased with the clash.

“Ask any footy tragic and they’ll tell you walking on Optus Stadium is a memorable experience,” she said.

“To play there, represent the regions and play before an AFL match is life-changing and something we’ll treasure for years to come.

“The State game provides an avenue for talented country players to form invaluable links with other country players.”

Dix stood out among the wealth of talent on display and was awarded the New Holland WA country women’s team best on ground medal.

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