Stars produce dominant display over Bears

Published on Sunday, July 7, 2024

Author : Nicholas Sacco

The Fitzroy Stars continue to stake their claim as a 2024 Cleaning Melbourne Division 2 women’s premiership hopeful, after a big 93-point triumph over Thomastown at Sir Douglas Nicholls Oval.

Booting 10 goals in the opening half, the Stars ensured the ball barely went in their defensive half, finishing the game with their second highest score of the season in a 15.6 (96) to 0.3 (3) win.

With her side securing the NAIDOC Cup, Natarsha Bamblett received the Esme Bamblett Medal after another excellent performance which included two goals, while Northern Knights listed star Amina Keegan led the way with four majors inside forward 50 to make it 10 goals in four Stars games.

Medika Bonney and Stephanie Briggs controlled proceedings in midfield and were a hard duo to keep a handle on with their pace and burst from stoppages, while Alli-Jade Briggs had a 50th game to remember, and also got on the scoreboard with a fourth quarter major.

With multiple key players out of the side, Thomastown struggled to keep up with their opponents but still produced some great contributors.

They were a better side when Chiara Nardo was on the field, who in the three quarters she played, was at her electric best in midfield and in the attacking half.

Cara Mazzarella was also impressive, with her booming long kicks often getting the Bears out of danger in defensive 50; meanwhile Sierra Te’o got better as the game went on and was one of the side’s more efficient players.

The Stars had the ascendency to start the match and were eager to pressure their Thomastown opponents and put damage on the scoreboard early.

They booted three goals inside the opening 10 minutes, with both Bonney and Briggs catalysts behind the home side’s brilliant start to the contest.

Thomastown soon arrested the momentum that was trending the Stars’ way and were able to maintain the ball inside their attacking half with repeat inside 50 entries, but they were unable to get good looks on goal, despite Nardo’s solo runs from the centre square.

Eventually the Fitzroy Stars got on the board again as they slowly moved the footy back towards their attacking 50 to take a 25-point lead into quarter time.

Nardo sat out during the second term due to injury, and it was apparent that her side were unable to maintain possession of the ball in the quarter.

Mazzarella did all she could for the visitors, but the Fitzroy Stars had an answer to every challenge thrown their way and went on to have a terrific six-goal quarter, five of which coming in the first 12 minutes of the term.

Three of those came from Keegan, who’s forward craft always put Thomastown defenders under pressure, while the hosts’ midfield group ensured nothing got past the halfway point of the ground, with their rebound work and ball winning ability excellent.

Leading by 63 points at the main break, the Fitzroy Stars were keen to inflict more pressure on their opposition, but with Chiara Nardo back on the field, Thomastown looked like a more settled lineup, and were starting to wrestle back momentum of the game.

The visitors were unable to produce any attacks forward however, and were kept to one behind for the quarter, while the Stars eventually broke through and kicked three majors in four minutes to extend the margin to 80 points.

The best of the three goals was produced by Natarsha Bamblett, who on the run, got the one-two handball from a teammate, and delivered a classy finish from close range.

In the final term, the match started to slow down with the hosts looking to play a more possession-based game, while still applying pressure to the Thomastown ball carrier on every occasion.

Two more majors from the Stars secured a strong 93-point victory, as they look to book another finals berth with two home and away games to play.

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