The ANZ NFNL Women’s season came to its conclusion with Bendigo claiming the Division 1 premiership, while West Preston-Lakeside and Bundoora won their maiden women’s flags.
After falling to Keilor by two points in the second semi final, Bendigo came full circle to upset the Blues 7.7 (49) to 1.4 (10) at Preston City Oval to defend its 2017 title.
The Thunder got off to the ideal start with captain Andrea Walsh converting the opening goal of the match and leading her side to a nine-point quarter time advantage.
Tiahna Cochrane’s goal stretched Bendigo’s lead out to 14 points during the second term, but the Blues responded via Tenille Cann’s expertly taken set shot.
However, Yasmin Colley’s opportunistic crumbing goal midway through the term stretched Bendigo’s lead back out to 15 points by the main break.
Controlling much of the play during the third term, Bendigo was rewarded for its effort with goals from Kodi Jacques and Billie-Lee Humphrey to assume what looked an unassailable 25-point buffer at the final change.
Last quarter goals to Walsh and Bianca Jones put the finishing touches on what was a mighty team performance by Bendigo.
Isabella Ayre was named best afield by the umpires for her outstanding all-round display and Olivia McEvoy topped off her season with yet another impressive performance around the contest.
West Preston-Lakeside avenged last year’s grand final defeat and was crowned the Division 2 premier following a compelling 6.2 (38) to 4.5 (29) victory over Montmorency.
A great pack mark and finish from Catherine O’Bryan gave the Roosters the opening goal but the Magpies levelled the scores at the midway point of the first term via a Sian Capito snap.
The Roosters however produced a seven-point lead before quarter time thanks to Dialla Fayad’s conversion.
Capito’s second major in the second term levelled the scores once more, before Paityn Hirt’s goal snatched the lead back for the Roosters. A late goal came for the Magpies via Natalie Tull-Boyle which tied the scores up at half time.
Tull-Boyle’s second goal midway through the third term gave the Magpies a seven-point lead. But with an upset brewing, a crucial running goal from Qwai Sibbald on the three quarter time siren brought the Roosters back within a single point.
With the final quarter played at a high intensity, it took a fantastic one-handed grab from Klarindah Hudson and follow up delivery to O’Bryan, who goaled, to hand the Roosters a four-point lead.
Hudson then kicked a goal of her own to stretch the Roosters lead out to a match-winning 10-points.
O’Bryan was rewarded for her superb performance, proclaimed best on field by the umpires.
In Division 3, Bundoora completed its undefeated season by taking home the premiership cup after a 6.9 (45) to 2.0 (12) victory over Eltham.
An early Jessica Mason goal gave the Panthers the perfect start, but the Bulls responded with Bridgette Taylor-Gray and Amy Callaway goals to grab a seven-point quarter time buffer.
A hotly contested second term saw the Bulls add only three points to their tally but took a handy 10-point buffer into the change rooms.
Rebekah Blennerhassett converted a set shot opportunity and Brieanna Musgrave kicked a running goal to produce a 25-point lead for the Bulls at the final change.
The Panthers secured the all-important first goal within the opening two minutes via Krystal Cullinan to keep their slim chance of a comeback alive, but the Bulls responded almost instantly.
Brittany Del Romano’s goal was followed by Blennerhassett’s second and ended the Bulls’ already fantastic day on an even higher note.
Despite her side’s defeat, Eltham star Krystal Cullinan rounded out her exceptional season by being adjudged best on ground by the umpires.