The NFNL Women’s semi finals produced largely one-sided results as the premiership contenders showed their might at Epping Recreation Reserve.
ANZ Division 1
VU Western Spurs booked its place in the grand final with a 4.2 (26) to 1.1 (7) victory over Darebin. The Spurs took a 13-point lead into half time before stretching it out to 19 points with a goal halfway through the third term. Falcon Caitlyn Jeffress reduced the difference back to 13 points with a late third quarter goal that gave her side a chance in the final term. However, the Falcons were unable to hit the scoreboard again as Jasmine Maljevac sealed the Spurs’ win with a goal in the fourth quarter. Mikayla Haddow and Brittany Wunhym were the best performing Spurs, while Rosie Byers and Rose Coombs stood out for the Falcons. Despite the defeat, it was a much-improved performance from the Falcons who lost to the Spurs by 83 points only two weeks prior. VU Western Spurs will sit out of the action this week as they await their grand final opponent, while Darebin will meet Diamond Creek Women’s in the preliminary final, who they defeated by 13 points in their last match-up.
Diamond Creek Women’s charge towards the premiership cup gathered momentum, as they dismantled higher-placed Montmorency 10.5 (65) to 3.1 (19) in wet conditions. The Creekers got off to an ideal start, kicking two opening quarter goals against the wind, including an expertly taken set shot by star Linda Thorp. A completely dominant second term saw the Creekers pile on four more goals and take a 38-point lead into half time. Both sides kicked two goals apiece in an even third term, before a brilliant Stacey Cross snap halfway through the final quarter and Thorp’s fifth goal put the finishing touches on a great day for the Creekers. The loss means that Montmorency unfortunately bows out of their inaugural Division 1 finals series in straight sets and will look to hit back next season.
MC Security Division 2
After being knocked out in the preliminary finals last season, VU Western Spurs advanced into the MC Security Division 2 grand final with a dominant 12.7 (79) to 1.3 (9) win over South Morang. A fast-starting Spurs outfit kicked three opening quarter goals, two of which came from the boot of Ashlea Block. A similar second term saw the Spurs add another three goals and secure a six-goal half time lead. The Spurs carried their great form into the second half and the Lions were unable to stem any of the momentum built by the minor premier. Amy Unwin was named best afield while Block finished with three goals for the Spurs. Despite producing fantastic football yet again, star duo Demi Hallett and Cassie Hurst were unable to lead the Lions to victory. VU Western Spurs now move directly into the grand final while South Morang face Heidelberg in the preliminary final, who they accounted for by five goals in the qualifying final.
Heidelberg moved into week three of the finals after defeating Eltham 6.5 (41) to 1.1 (7). Kicking with the wind in the opening quarter, the Tigers made the most of their opportunity, with creative forward Emma Rowe booting two goals to lead her side to a handy 14-point quarter time lead. A third Rowe goal saw the Tigers move to a 19-point advantage before Alannah Murray stemmed the flow for the Panthers and brought them back within 13 points. Rowe stepped up yet again to ensure the Tigers took a 20-point lead into half time. In the third term, Rowe’s fifth goal stretched the Tigers lead out to 27 points, before Emily Merry chimed in with a goal from long range to help the Tigers on their way to a 34-point victory. Cassidy Payne was great around the contest for the Tigers while Rowe was unstoppable up forward. Bree Cashmore and Natascha Wirz played their roles for the Panthers.
Mirvac Division 3
VU Western Spurs continued their incredible form, defeating Laurimar 3.4 (22) to 1.0 (6). The win kick-started an historic day for the club, who secured the first of three second semi-final victories that saw all three Spurs sides advance into the grand final. Stacy Rigon secured the first goal of the match before the Power hit back via a Danielle Toull major that closed her side to within two points at the first break. The only goal of the second quarter went the way of the Spurs, with Krystle Artuso kicking the breakthrough goal and sending her side into the changerooms with a nine-point lead. A tight third term saw neither side kick a goal and the Power were still in touch until halfway through the last quarter, when Emma Wheeler nailed a goal that stretched the Spurs out to an unassailable 16-point lead. Rachel Battika and Trinda Lampard were instrumental in the Spurs’ win, while Carly Cooper and Kiera Hunter tried hard for the Power. Laurimar will need to respond against a Greensborough outfit aiming to avenge their surprise two-point qualifying final loss two weeks ago.
Greensborough bounced back from defeat to keep their season alive with a 10.8 (68) to 0.5 (5) win over an in-form Hurstbridge. The Boro took a 14-point lead into quarter-time and had stretched it out to 26 points by three-quarter time. A fantastic final quarter effort saw the Boro pile on six goals and showcase exactly why they were the ladder-leaders up until the very last round of the season. Renee Unthank and Morgan Broadley stood out in a great team performance by the Boro, while Alienna Jones and Danielle Pike finished their seasons for the Bridges with strong performances.
The preliminary finals for all three divisions will be hosted at Epping Recreation Reserve on Sunday.
Image by Steven McNeil