Heidelberg women’s coach Mitch Skelly believes his side is ready to hit its straps in the MC Security Division 2 Women’s preliminary final this weekend.
Finishing third on the ladder in its first season in the NFNL Women’s competition, Skelly says his side has already exceeded expectations set at the beginning of the season.
“Our goal was to finish higher than any of the other new teams in the league, so we are pretty happy to have done that after making it to Division 2 and then making the finals,” Skelly told NFNL.org.au.
The Tigers bounced back from their 4.8 (32) to 0.2 (2) qualifying final defeat at the hands of South Morang to advance to the preliminary final after defeating Eltham 6.5 (41) to 1.1 (7) in the first semi final at the weekend.
“We’d played against Eltham four times previously to our semi final, including practice matches, so we had confidence that we’d beaten them before so we knew we could do it again,” Skelly said.
“Everyone knuckled down at training and focused on doing things we normally do and let the results take care of itself.”
Having pushed second-placed South Morang within five points in Round 6 before going down by 30 points in the first week of the finals, Skelly is confident his team has what it takes to reverse previous results against the Lions.
“We played South Morang earlier in the season and had a look at them and a couple weeks ago. They touched us up, so we know a bit more about them.
“They have good players in the midfield, good players in the backline and good players in the forward line but at the end of the day it’ll come down to what we can do.
“If we can get our hands on the footy first, it gives us a chance.”
Skelly is hopeful of making the most of the weapons his side has, in particularly with a forward line that features Emma Rowe – who has booted 36 goals in 2019, which includes five of the Tigers’ six goals against Eltham last week.
“Emma’s proven that she is probably the best forward in the competition so it’s no secret that if we can get her one out against a defender, she’s probably going to score goals,” Skelly says.
“At the same time, some of Emma’s goals on the weekend came on the end of some of the hard work of our other forwards like Sarah Barlow and Mollie Sheahan, who are working their socks off to keep the ball in, which creates opportunities for someone like Emma.”
After overcoming some unique obstacles in the lead-up to last week’s semi-final win, Skelly believes his side will be even better placed heading into this week’s preliminary final.
“Last week we weren’t even able to train on the ground, so we had to train in the car park because our home ground was in such poor condition.
“Even though we didn’t have an oval to train on last week, the girls responded really well and came out and played great footy.
“This week we’ve actually got access to another ground to train on so we’ll have a really big training session Wednesday and work on a bit of structure and our skills, and we’ll do everything we can.
“On Thursday night we’ll have a short night back at Heidelberg and we can go through the tapes from the weekend to see what we’re doing and have a look at what South Morang are doing. Hopefully we will take that into the game and that will give us a bit of an edge.”
The first bounce of the MC Security Division 2 Women’s preliminary final between South Morang and Heidelberg is at 11:55am on Sunday at Epping Recreation Reserve.