The ANZ NFNL Women’s 2018 season kicked off in style at the weekend.
In Division 1, the VU Western Spurs couldn’t have asked for a better start, with a comprehensive 27.17 (179) to 1.0 (6) win over Whitehorse at Henry Turner Reserve. The Spurs came out ready to play, adding 6.3 (39) in the first quarter and in a stunning second term, they generated 11 scoring shots to bring their total score to 16.4 (100). The Spurs then carried on with their great form in the second half. The Spurs forward line was on fire, with Mary Sandral kicking 11 goals and Ashlea Block kicking six of her own. Amelia Dawborn and Briana Holland played their roles for the Colts.
Fielding a team for the first time in the ANZ NFNL Women’s league, Keilor sent a strong statement to the rest of the competition, defeating Darebin 17.9 (111) to 0.2 (2) at Joe Brown Reserve. Keilor placed scoreboard pressure on the Falcons early on, taking a 21-point lead into quarter time and then a 48-point lead into the main break. Keilor’s ferocious tackling pressure continued into the second half and they played out a fantastic final two quarters. Sarah Wright produced an excellent display, kicking four goals while Tenille Cann was great up forward, adding four goals of her own. Esther Honybun and Tamara Olcorn were the best performing Falcons. Keilor will now meet fellow Round 1 winner, the VU Western Spurs in a much-anticipated Round 2 clash, while the Falcons will face off with Whitehorse.
Elsewhere, Diamond Creek Women’s and Bendigo begin their campaigns against each other in Round 2 after both sides had a bye in Round 1, following Pascoe Vale’s decision to withdraw from the competition on the eve of the season.
In Division 2, the reigning premiers, the VU Western Spurs began their season on a positive note with a 4.3 (27) to 2.10 (22) win over a much improved La Trobe University. The Spurs kicked the opening two goals of the game and took a 10-point lead into quarter time. La Trobe fought back in the second quarter and closed the gap to just two points by half time. Both sides added a goal each in the third quarter and the scores were level heading into the final change. The Spurs however, secured the only goal of the final quarter and held on for a tight five-point win. Hayley Stanford and Belinda Huynh helped will the Spurs over the line, while Stephanie Castagnini and Kaitlyn Ritchie were best for La Trobe.
2017 runner-up West Preston-Lakeside came out on top with a 6.7 (43) to 4.2 (26) win over Montmorency. After a close first half, the Roosters took a three-point advantage into half time before kicking away with a four-goal to two second half. Teresa Cassar and Catherine O’Bryan were named best afield for the Roosters, while Megan Allan and Felicity Thompson were the Magpies’ best.
Laurimar proved too strong for South Morang, producing a 6.10 (46) to 2.0 (12) victory at Laurimar Reserve. With only a three-point lead at half time, the Power produced a great second half, keeping the Lions scoreless and adding four goals of their own. Ellie Koiker and Tenille Webb led the way for the Power. Kelly Lynch and Cassie Hurst stood out for the Lions in their side’s first hit out.
In Division 3, the VU Western Spurs put on a remarkable display, defeating La Trobe University 14.12 (96) to 0.1 (1) to ensure all three Spurs sides recorded opening round wins. With much of the first half spent in their forward line, the Spurs added 6.9 (45) to the scoreboard and proved to be unstoppable for the rest of the match. Brittany Salt and Elisabeth Kett led from the front for the Spurs, while Michelle Clarke and Katelyn Sheather tried hard for La Trobe.
Eltham kicked off its 2018 season with a 4.6 (30) to 3.2 (20) home win over Greensborough in both teams’ inaugural game. Securing the first two goals of the match, the Panthers took a 13-point lead into the main break. Despite Greensborough taking back the momentum for long periods during the second half, the Panthers held strong for a 10-point win. Bethany Woodman and Jacqueline Hardiman were named best afield for the Panthers, while Nikola Fry and Ebony Spencer (two goals) were strong performers for the Boro.
Bundoora secured the four points with a 4.8 (32) to 3.2 (20) away victory over St Mary’s in a game between two more newcomers. After trailing by 15 points at half time, the Burra kicked two third-quarter goals to close the gap to just five points. However, the Bulls responded in the final quarter to seal the win. Rainbow Ebert and Bridgette Taylor-Gray found plenty of the footy for the Bulls, while Kerry Crockett and Taylor Marshall fought hard for the Burra.