It was an action packed first week of finals in the NFNL Women’s competition as teams battled it out in the chilly conditions.
The second week of finals will again be hosted by Epping Recreation Reserve, with the second semi finals on Saturday and the first semi finals on Sunday.
ANZ DIVISION 1 WOMEN’S
Darebin overcame Montmorency 3.8 (26) to 2.2 (14), flipping the result of their clash in the final round of the regular season. A five-point Falcons quarter time lead was reduced to just two points by half time, as the Magpies hit back in the second quarter with a Nicole Blythe goal. Georgia Thomson kicked the only goal of the third term to give the Magpies a four-point lead at the final change. Darebin managed to grab the win in the last quarter, hitting the scoreboard via Tamara Olcorn and Cassandra Pittard. Olcorn carried her incredible home and away form into the finals, producing a best on ground performance for the Falcons, while Rachel Harris was also great once again. Molly Reinke and Megan Allan tried hard to get the Magpies over the line. Darebin’s win means it will retain the double chance heading into the second week of finals. The Falcons will now face VU Western Spurs in the second semi final, with the winner to book the first place in the grand final. The Magpies will play Diamond Creek Women’s in the first semi final on Sunday, where a win will seal a preliminary final berrth against the loser of the second semi final.
Diamond Creek Women’s advanced into week two of the finals with a 7.5 (47) to 2.2 (14) victory over West Preston-Lakeside. The Creekers came out firing, with two early goals coming via Emma Wilson and Georgia Harvey, before Rechelle McSwain booted a goal at the other end for the Roosters. Diamond Creek Women’s star forward Linda Thorp stole the momentum of the match back with her first of two goals coming late in the first quarter, giving her side a 13-point advantage. Kicking with the wind in the second term, the Roosters managed to secure the only goal of the quarter thanks to Chloe Oakley – closing the deficit to seven points at the main break. However, it was all Creekers in the second half, as they piled on four unanswered goals to run away with the match. Kathryn Burns provided plenty of rebound for the Creekers, with her intercepting work playing a key part in her side’s win. Sarina Galati was fantastic for the Roosters, whose season came to a close with the loss.
MC SECURITY DIVISION 2 WOMEN’S
South Morang’s hot form leading into its finals campaign continued, with a 4.8 (32) to 0.2 (2) victory over Heidelberg making it eight wins on the trot. A three-goal opening stanza by the Lions fuelled their confidence and the Tigers were unable to work their way back into the match. The usual suspects in Cherie Hallett, Demi Hallett and Cassie Hurst played starring roles for the Lions, while Megan Harwood and Cassidy Payne battled hard for the Tigers. South Morang will now meet an undefeated VU Western Spurs outfit in the second semi final, while Heidelberg will take on Eltham, who it only narrowly overcame in a comeback win two weeks ago.
Eltham withstood a Darebin fightback to move into the first semi final with a 2.7 (19) to 2.0 (14) victory. The Panthers took the lead in the first quarter via a Claudia Williver goal, before Alannah Murray’s goal after the quarter time siren gave them an important 14-point quarter-time advantage. With the rain falling in the second quarter, the Panthers managed only two minor scores, while Darebin’s Tineka Austin-Laughton secured the only goal of the term to bring her side back within 10 points. Austin-Laughton’s second goal came in the third term, as the Falcons closed the gap to seven points by the final change. With no goals coming in the fourth quarter, the Panthers were able to seal an upset victory against their higher-ranked opponent. Georgia Williver and Bree Cashmore were brilliant in the Panthers’ win, while Kristin Stensholt and Jem Wilson finished their consistent seasons with strong performances for the Falcons, who unfortunately bow out of the premiership race with the loss.
MIRVAC DIVISION 3 WOMEN’S
The Mirvac Division 3 Women’s finals series begun in nail-biting fashion, with Laurimar enjoying a two-point boilover over Greensborough, winning 4.1 (25) to 3.5 (23). In a tightly-contest contested first quarter, both teams scored a goal apiece as the Boro gained a two-point lead at quarter time. The only goal of the second term went the Boro’s way as they stretched their lead out to 10-points at the main change. After losing to the Boro by 40 points just two weeks ago, the Power hit the contest hard after half time and, with a tougher edge, booted two goals to the Boro’s none to take three-point lead into the three quarter time huddle. With both sides kicking a goal in the final term, the Power were able to get the important win that sees them maintain the double chance against VU Western Spurs in the second semi final. Fantastic performances by Sarah Scheggia and Elyse Scheuermann were pivotal in getting the Power over the line, while Kyla Parry and Rita Slewa were gutsy for the Boro. Greensborough will look to keep its season alive against a red-hot Hurstbridge outfit.
In its inaugural year in the women’s competition, Hurstbridge made an immediate impact in its finals berth, defeating Montmorency 7.7 (49) to 1.6 (12). The result clinched the Bridges fifth win in a row. Early goals went the Bridges way, as Danielle Pike and Teaghan Watt booted the ball through the big sticks to open a handy lead, but the Magpies managed to stem the momentum via an Amy Clarke goal that closed them to within eight-points at quarter time. Hurstbridge forward Rebecca Hayes secured the only goal of the second quarter to help her side on its way to an 11-point half time advantage. The Bridges came out firing in the second half, kicking the next four goals of the match and sealing their maiden finals victory. Chloe Topperwien and Belinda Harris were named best afield for the victors, while Magpies Amber Fernie-Suckling and Daisha Collins left everything out on the field.