Hawks come back to defeat Lions

Published on Monday, July 1, 2024

Author : Sheridan van Gelderen

Heidelberg West took a big step towards securing top spot in the NFNL Division 3 women’s competition, after coming from behind to defeat South Morang by 10 points at Heidelberg Park.

The Hawks were kept to one goal and trailed by three points at three quarter time, before a terrific two-goal to one last quarter saw them prevail 3.5 (23) to 2.1 (13), helping them produce their fourth straight win.

Alanah Moore was a standout for the home side with her forward pressure and consistent efforts around the ball to finish as her side’s best.

Meanwhile Emily O’Keefe was a key contributor to Heidelberg West’s final quarter surge and has now been named in her side’s best in six straight matches.

South Morang’s early dominance came thanks to some great accuracy from Maddison Wright, who finished with two majors, as well as some excellent defensive pressure from in-form duo Ruby Failla and Devony Hoare.

Elly Pinney’s brilliant season also continued for the visitors, helping her side maintain the rage in the first three quarters with her relentless hunt for the football.

The ball lived in Heidelberg West’s forward half in the early stages of the opening term, with some great efforts in ruck by captain Crystal Grech seeing her side with the majority of possession.

However, they were unable to translate that into goals, and were kept scoreless for the quarter thanks to some great defensive work from the Lions, led by Hailey Cordova.

The visitors increased their work rate and were eventually rewarded when a turnover led to Maddison Wright scoring the first major of the game from directly in front.

Heidelberg West tried to fight back, with Kiana Horman leading the charge. Alannah Moore also created a great passage of play that resulted in some ‘almost’ chances for the home side, but they were unable to hit the scoreboard.

Trailing by a solitary goal at quarter time, the Hawks would get more looks on goal in the second quarter, and while this time they were able to register scores, their inaccuracies let them down to finish the term with four behinds.

Grech impressed again, this time in the forward line, leading hard and marking the ball well inside 50.

South Morang had less chances to extend their lead but were more clinical when the ball did stay inside their attacking half, highlighted by Wright pouncing on another opportunity to convert for her second goal of the match with some great crumbing work.

With Chloe Thompson going to another level for the away side, the Lions were able to ensure the Hawks didn’t get any meaningful shots at goal to take an eight-point lead into the main break; despite the game being played inside their defensive half for most of the quarter.

The third term saw more of an even contest played out between the two sides, as each team wrestled control of the match.

Heidelberg West’s backline was put under constant pressure from the Lions, who were fighting hard to extend their lead, but the hosts stood firm, and did well to only concede one behind for the quarter.

In turn, the Hawks would be the ones to find the big sticks after Chloe Rowan’s 10th major of the season ended her side’s goal-drought.

The momentum had swung into Heidelberg West’s favour following the goal and despite pushing forward relentlessly in the final minutes of the term, they had to settle for a three-point deficit to chase at three quarter time.

But the home side went up another gear in the last quarter, with the trio of Crystal Grech, Kiana Horman and Jessica Taylor all influential in their team’s final quarter surge.

Ruby Failla and Devony Hoare excelled for the Lions as they aimed to keep their opponents at bay, despite South Morang’s inability to hit the scoreboard during the term.

Eventually, Heidelberg West broke through thanks to Horman, with her goal giving the Hawks the lead for the first time.

They then were able to ice the game moments later, as after more great ruck work by Grech, Kate O’Neill got boot to ball with minutes remaining, securing a great comeback and a terrific 10-point triumph.

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