The 2018 ANZ NFNL Women’s semi finals provided plenty of excitement with great skills and tight results on display at Epping Recreation Reserve.
In Division 1, Keilor booked its place in the grand final with a thrilling 3.2 (20) to 2.6 (18) victory over reigning premier Bendigo. The Thunder’s Andrea Walsh crumbed the opening goal of the match in the second quarter, before teammate Laura Flanagan added another to stretch the lead to 14 points. The Blues responded via a Gemma Wright goal minutes before the half time siren to close the deficit to eight points. A Brooke Todero snap in the opening minute of the third term brought the Blues to within two points and the Thunder only managed to add three behinds for the term to take a slim five-point advantage into the fourth quarter. With Gemma Wright intercepting many of the Thunder’s forward 50 entries, the Blues held strong in defence in a tight final term. Todero’s second goal saw the Blues take the lead for the first time with five minutes remaining and they locked the ball on the wing from that point on to seal their place in the premiership decider. Nicole Zammit and Sarah Wright excelled around the contest for the Blues, to will their side over the line. Abbey Hay and Carly Geary were the Thunder’s best performers. Keilor will sit out of the action this week as they await their grand final opponent, while Bendigo will meet VU Western Spurs in the preliminary final, who it defeated by 14 points in the qualifying final.
VU Western Spurs bounced back from their qualifying final loss with an 8.4 (52) to 2.2 (14) win over Diamond Creek Women’s. The Spurs secured the first goal of the match and Taylor Moss ran into an open goal for their second. The Creekers hit back via Linda Thorp’s expertly taken back-to-back set shots to grab a one-point lead by quarter time. The Spurs, however, produced the only goal of the second term to produce a seven-point half time lead. A four-goal third term, two of which belonged to Moss, stretched the Spurs lead out to a match-winning 31-points and Moss’ fourth goal in the final term put the icing on the cake. Brittany Wunhym, Stephanie Holland and Brooke Eley continued their strong form for the Spurs, while Neve O’Connor and Linda Thorp battled hard for the Creekers.
In Division 2, West-Preston Lakeside earned its way into another grand final with a 4.3 (27) to 3.5 (23) win over VU Western Spurs in the second semi. The Roosters opened proceedings with a superb first quarter that saw them pile on four goals and help them on their way to a 23-point half time lead. The Spurs held strong to keep the Roosters from adding another major and were able to break through with their first midway through the final term via Savannah Forbes. With the momentum now swinging their way, Forbes kicked two more goals to close to the Spurs to within four points late in the piece, but they were unable to secure the match-winning goal. Catherine O’Bryan and Claire King were terrific for the Roosters, who will now look to go one step further than last year’s grand final defeat. Stefania Valerio and Rebecca Bliss were great for the Spurs, who will now face an in-form Montmorency in the preliminary final.
Montmorency moved into week three of the finals by defeating La Trobe University 8.8 (56) to 1.3 (9). The Magpies controlled the play from the outset, generating seven scoring opportunities to one in the opening quarter to take an 11-point lead into the first break. The Magpies secured their third goal in the second term, while inaccurate kicking saw La Trobe only add three behinds to their tally. An outstanding fou- goal third quarter by the Magpies split the game open and they ran away 56-point winners. Lauren Dow produced her second consecutive best on ground performance Montmorency, while teammate Sian Capito was unstoppable up forward with five goals. Brittany Bordignon played her role for La Trobe, who bowed out of the finals race.
In Division 3, Bundoora carried its incredible regular season form into the finals series, defeating St Mary’s 6.11 (47) to 0.0 (0) in the second semi. The Bulls held a 15-point lead at half time, before an inaccurate third term, where they scored 1.5 to keep the Burra’s slim chances alive. However, the Bulls put their foot down in the final term, adding three goals and producing a 47-point win. Tanya Stojanovic and Antonietta Parisi stood out in a great team performance by the Bulls, while Ruby Colley tried hard for the Burra. Bundoora deservedly move directly into the premiership decider, while St Mary’s will look to respond against Eltham in the preliminary final.
Eltham advanced into the preliminary final following a 4.6 (30) to 1.0 (6) win over VU Western Spurs. A hotly contested opening half saw the only goal coming via Panther Krystal Cullinan. The Panthers opened up a 21-point lead midway through the third term, but a Brooke Muscat goal brought the Spurs back into the contest. Cullinan’s second major however, stretched the Panthers lead back out to 21 points before the three-quarter time siren and they were able to comfortably hold off the Spurs in the last term. Cullinan and Madison Lee were excellent for the Panthers, while Eden Cassar finished her season in top form for the Spurs.
Preston City Oval will host all three preliminary finals on Sunday August 19.