Eltham have won the 2022 SG Print & Paper Division 2 Women’s premiership after coming from behind to claim a 18-point victory over St Mary’s at Preston City Oval.
The Panthers trailed by a point at three quarter time but with a final quarter surge, were able to turn the momentum to their favour, ultimately securing the 4.12 (36) to 2.6 (18) win.
It’s the club’s first premiership in the women’s competition after falling short in 2018 Division 3 decider to Bundoora.
The Panthers were just beaten to the minor premiership by the Burra who overtook them in their Round 9 meeting and at the conclusion of the home and away season only percentage could split the two sides. Eltham then won their second semi-final over St Mary’s two weeks ago and were able reproduce that effort on Sunday.
Angelique Reibelt earned herself the best on ground medal with her performance particularly in the last quarter, the decisive factor between the two sides. She kicked three majors for the game, but it was two crucial goals in the final term that would help spur Eltham to victory.
Alannah Murray was pivotal again for the Panthers. After some quiet performances against the Burra in recent games, Murray made the midfield her own, winning many clearances and playing a key role her side’s entries inside 50
Jasmine Tilley had a bright first half and so too did Sienna Gunning.
Madison Bickerton stood out for St Mary’s with her work in the third quarter giving the Burra their one-point three quarter time advantage. Ebony Clayton also held her own, particularly in the ruck.
St Marys opened the match with a goal from Caitlin Kreuzberger in the first two minutes of the game. The Burra were able to keep the ball down there for some time but could only muster a further two behinds.
Following a quiet start, Eltham slowly built their way into the game and eventually goaled with Kate Cardamone kicking the Panthers’ first of the match.
Up by a point, Bickerton had ball in hand as the quarter time siren sounded and was in goal scoring range but as she took her kick, the umpire called play on, determining that she’d stepped off the mark.
Her kick looked to have snuck through and would have put the Burra in a good position at quarter time had it counted, but St Marys had to settle for the narrow one-point lead following a quarter where both sides looked on top of in different patches.
With the slight breeze in their favour in the second quarter, the Panther capitalised as Reibelt got on the end of a chain of handballs and put the Panthers in front for the first time in the Grand Final.
Reibelt’s goal was the only major of the second quarter with the intensity of the contest rising with every minute that went on.
The third quarter was another low scoring affair as St Marys chipped away at their deficit with the first 3 behinds of the term.
Bickerton was then able to make the most of another shot on goal by converting a major to put the Burra back in front.
A late behind from the Panthers made for a highly anticipated final term in which the minor premiers led by a solitary point.
Eltham began the final quarter on top and looked almost a completely different side to the one that ran out in the previous term. Jacki White burst out of the middle to kick the game-tying point in just 18 seconds before Cardamone kicked the go-ahead behind just a few minutes later.
Reibelt then delivered up forward, kicking two goals in the space of two minutes to break open the match and put Eltham 13 points to the good.
The Burra had no answers up forward. Competition leading goalkicker Sarah Johnston was kept goalless for the second time this season, the other time being against the the Panthers in the semi-final, as scoreless quarter from St Mary’s sealed Eltham’s impressive grand final victory.