The NFNL Women’s regular season concluded on the weekend, with the teams leaving their all out on the field.
The top-five teams in each division will now turn their attention to the finals series, which begins at Epping Recreation Reserve this weekend. The ground will host the qualifying finals on Saturday, before the elimination finals take place on Sunday.
ANZ DIVISION 1 WOMEN’S
Bendigo finished its season on a high note with a 6.7 (43) to 2.1 (13) win over Bundoora at Yulong Reserve. With a 2.5 opening term, the Thunder’s wayward kicking kept the Bulls in the match. The Thunder took a 23-point lead into half time after booting two goals to the Bulls one in the second term and the visitors sealed the match with a two-goal to one second half. Emily Taylor was fantastic for the Thunder, while Georgia Gordon kicked four goals. Candice Dyson and Ellie Koiker ended their seasons with solid performances for the Bulls.
In what was a stirring contest, Montmorency overcame Darebin at A.H Capp Reserve 6.3 (39) to 5.5 (35). The Falcons grabbed the opening goal of the match, before the Magpies hit back with one of their own. Stephanie Normington-Dickens ensured the Falcons took a nine-point lead into quarter time with a goal. Sian Capito brought the Magpies back within five points with the first goal of the second term, before Alice Caddy’s goal stretched the Falcons’ lead back out to seven points by half time. Three goals in a row via Capito, Molly Reinke and Madison Bayes provided Montmorency with an 11-point buffer, but the Falcons responded with the next two goals to steal a three-point lead heading into the final quarter. With the final quarter played between the arcs, Bayes’ second goal with only three minutes left on the clock clinched the win for Montmorency, who jumped into second spot on the ladder at Darebin’s expense. Lily Brancatisano produced a second consecutive best on ground performance for the Magpies and hard running midfielder Nicole Blythe was also terrific. Hayley Munro and Rachel Harris were the best performing Falcons. The two sides will lock heads again this Saturday in a qualifying final that will likely go down to the wire based on their clash last weekend.
Diamond Creek Women’s will be pleased with its form heading into the finals after a 15.13 (103) to 0.1 (1) win over West Preston-Lakeside at Plenty Park Oval. The Creekers were consistent throughout the day and finished with a flurry – booting five goals in each of the final two quarters. Linda Thorp was at her damaging best with eight goals and Stacey Cross was also fantastic. Emma Potocnik and Natasha Stoikos tried hard for the Roosters. Diamond Creek Women’s will now take plenty of confidence into Sunday’s elimination final against West Preston-Lakeside.
MC SECURITY DIVISION 2 WOMEN’S
Heidelberg secured the double chance with an 8.5 (53) to 0.2 (2) victory over St Mary’s in a Friday night clash at A.K. Lines Reserve. The result saw the Burra miss out on finals action on percentage alone. Heidelberg opened proceedings with three goals in the first term and carried the momentum for the remainder of the match. Tiger forward Emma Rowe brought up her 30th goal of the season with a six-goal haul and Hannah Daniel found plenty of the football. Amy Mitchener finished her stellar season as the Burra’s best performer for a third-consecutive week. After finishing third on the ladder, Heidelberg will now face South Morang in the qualifying final on Saturday.
South Morang will charge into the finals series full of confidence after notching its seventh win in a row with a 9.10 (64) to 0.0 (0) victory over fellow finalist Darebin. After a two-goal first term, the Lions put their foot down to kick seven goals across the second and third terms and sealed a comprehensive victory. Demi Hallett’s outstanding 2019 campaign continued, and the star Lion was best on ground for a second-consecutive week with three goals. Paris Schmiedel also excelled in the win. Emily Baldwin and Claire Hardi were good for the Falcons. Darebin will now meet Eltham in Sunday’s elimination final. The two sides have not met since Round 5, where Darebin came away with a comfortable win.
Eltham clinched its finals berth after a 11.11 (77) to 0.2 (2) victory over Diamond Creek Women’s bounced it from last to fifth on the ladder on percentage. A hot start by the Panthers opened a 28-point quarter-time lead and the Creekers were unable to get back into the game. Alannah Murray booted five goals in a best on ground performance for the Panthers, while Kate Cardamone also found the big sticks with three goals. Crystal Grech and Drew Barnes tried hard all day for the Creekers.
MIRVAC DIVISION 3 WOMEN’S
VU Western Spurs defeated Greensborough 5.4 (32) to 4.4 (28) in an exciting contest at Greensborough War Memorial Park. Kicking two goals to one in the opening term, the Boro took a six-point lead into quarter-time. The Spurs then secured the only goals of the second and third terms to take a six-point advantage into the final term. Both sides kicked two final quarter goals and the Spurs were able to hold on for a memorable win. Lauren Basto excelled for the Spurs, while Stacy Rigon booted three goals. Rita Slewa and Ebony Spencer were great for the Boro. The victory saw VU Western Spurs jump into top spot at Greensborough’s expense – clinching the minor premiership and bye in the first week of finals. It marks an exceptional achievement with all three Spurs sides topping the ladder across the three women’s divisions. Greensborough will play Laurimar in a qualifying final for the opportunity to take on VU Western Spurs in the second semi final.
Laurimar will head into its finals campaign with plenty of belief after a 9.8 (62) to 0.2 (2) victory over Reservoir at Laurimar Reserve. With match-winners all over the park, the Power proved to be unstoppable in the runaway victory. Tiahn Cowan produced her best football of the year, booting six of her side’s nine goals, while Sarah Scheggia’s brilliant form continued. Tiffany Barker and Shayla McAuliffe finished their seasons with solid performances for Reservoir.
Wallan produced the upset of the round, defeating fourth-placed Montmorency 2.8 (20) to 1.2 (8) at Wallan Recreational Reserve, to end its season on a high note. Wallan took a nine-point lead into quarter-time, before Montmorency closed to within four points by the time of the three-quarter time huddle. The final goal of the match went Wallan’s way and they finished their inaugural season in the women’s competition with five wins. Tanyshah Ruscigno and Amy Crowden were crucial in getting Wallan over the line, while Tahlia Morgan and Maddi-Taylor Wilde will be hoping to carry their form into the finals for Montmorency. The Magpies will need to bounce back in an elimination final against Hurstbridge on Sunday.
Hurstbridge booked its place in the finals in its first season in the competition, with a 9.5 (59) to 1.4 (10) win over Mernda at Waterview Recreation Reserve. The Bridges finished the year in fifth position with six wins, while Mernda’s year ended in seventh spot. Hurstbridge captain Rebecca Hayes led from the front with four goals and Melissa Martini excelled alongside her – also kicking four majors. Sharon Naylor and Shelby Nanscawen were Mernda’s best players on the day.