Mernda remain on top of the Cleaning Melbourne Division 3 Women’s ladder following a nail-biting one-point victory over Hurstbridge at Ben Frilay Oval.
It was anyone’s game in the low scoring contest, particularly at three quarter time with both sides level, but the Demons’ unrelenting pressure around the ball allowed them to crawl over the line with a 1.8 (14) to 2.1 (13) victory.
The triumph keeps Mernda on top of the ladder as the halfway mark of the season passes, while the Bridges drop to third spot.
Awek Dut shone again as one of best on the ground, the Coaches MVP leader was dominant in the air and around the ground while Teneshia Fiore had one of her best games of the season for the visitors.
Sheridan Bennett was the standout for Hurstbridge, continuing her bright start to the 2022 campaign.
In a game that would ultimately provide few goals, Belinda Harris wasted no time in opening the scoring for the Bridges, kicking the first major of the afternoon early in the first quarter.
Mernda struggled to create many opportunities going forward, only registering the one behind for the term and trailing by five points at quarter time.
The home side continued to make the most of their chances as a Chelsy Corcoran goal widened Hurstbridge’s lead in the second quarter.
Beginning to produce more entries inside 50, the Demons had their chances to hit back, but could only muster four behinds heading into the main break.
But when it seemed as though they would be unrewarded for their effort, Shenay Reeves put through a late goal for the visitors to only trail by a point at half time.
Mernda’s inaccuracy continued to haunt them in the second half as while they had control of the ball, they were unable to convert any attacks into goals. A behind to Bernadette Azzopardi was all that the Demons were able to muster for the third quarter.
While Hurstbridge’s backline did well to mark almost every kick that was sent down to them, they couldn’t create any chances themselves and as a result, were kept scoreless for the term.
With scores at 12 apiece heading into the last quarter, a nail-biting finish between the top two sides of the competition looked set to occur.
As the final term commenced, Mernda continued their momentum in the forward half, but Hurstbridge were initially able to ward off the Demons’ attempts to score.
However midway through the term, Demons forward Tianah Teo earned a free kick. Despite missing the set shot, it gave the visitors their first lead of the match.
Shortly after, and in similar fashion to Teo, Shelby Nanscawen added another behind to give Chris Hoysted’s side a two-point buffer heading into the closing stages of the contest.
From there on out the ball hovered between both forward lines, but as Hurstbridge went forward to score towards in the last few moments, Mernda’s defensive structure remained intact to only allow a further behind for the home side, ultimately doing enough to hold on to a one-point victory.
Photo by Damian Visentini