The opening week of the split round in the three Mirvac NFNL Women’s divisions saw many of the best teams put in commanding performances on the eve of the finals.
The action began on Friday night, with an under lights fixture between neighbours Montmorency and Lower Plenty at Montmorency Park South Oval. It was the home side that took the four points, with the Magpies leading from start to finish in the 6.10 (46) to 2.4 (16) result. Montmorency kicked the only two goals of the opening term, but then withstood a fightback from Lower Plenty in the second quarter – with the margin cut to just nine points at half time. The Magpies kicked away after the main break to secure their sixth win of the season to move back into fourth spot. Emily Beanland and Ashleigh Setches were dominant in the victory, while Natalie Tull-Boyle and Mika Suzuki combined for four goals. Tarrah Delgado was a standout for Lower Plenty in her senior debut, while Molly McCormack again impressed.
Darebin recorded its second big win in as many matches with a commanding 10.13 (73) to 1.0 (6) victory over Heidelberg at A.H. Capp Reserve. The result provided the Falcons with their sixth win of the season, pushing them up into sixth place on the ladder. Lilly Primerano and Gabby Cleeman produced dominant showings to lead their side to victory, while Peppa Poultney was again prominent. Darebin shared the goals around, with seven players getting on the score sheet – which included multiple goals to Susan Cadman, Nikita Magriplis and Stephanie Elarmaly. Cassia Menkhorst and Fiona Sheehan were among Heidelberg’s best.
VU Western Spurs regained second spot on the ladder after a runaway 11.7 (73) to 0.3 (3) home win over West Preston-Lakeside at Henry Turner Reserve. The Spurs led by 32 points at three-quarter time before breaking the game wide open in the final term, when they piled on six unanswered goals. Vice-captain Amy Unwin and Jessica Kinsman were key contributors, while Erin Bult capped her day with two goals. Star forward Aleisha Casley booted a game-high four goals. Ashleigh Snow’s dominant form continued for West Preston-Lakeside and she was again her side’s best performer, while Rebecca McDonagh also played well.
In Mirvac Division 2, ladder-leader Montmorency kept its unbeaten streak intact by the barest margin possible. The Magpies were pushed all the way by Darebin but snuck through with a one-point win in the 3.6 (24) to 3.5 (23) result at A.H. Capp Reserve. The Falcons led by five points at half time, before the Magpies booted 2.4 to a point in the third quarter to take a 10-point lead into the final term. The home side did all the attack in the final quarter but could muster just one goal from four scoring shots to fall agonisingly short of an upset win. Eboni Donnelly and Jordan Schultz were brilliant and ensured Montmorency remained undefeated, while Brooke Jones was the game’s only multiple goal kicker. For Darebin, Jessica Marks and Emily Ivanka had great games, while Julia Phung impressed in her first game for the Falcons’ second side.
St Mary’s jumped up to third place on the ladder courtesy of a breakaway triumph over Hurstbridge at Whatmough Park. Hurstbridge mounted a stirring comeback in the third quarter to close within 15 points at the last change, having gone goalless in the opening half. However, the Burra played arguably their best football of the season in the final term and piled on seven unanswered goals to win 12.8 (80) to 3.5 (23). Megan Girolami had a day to remember with five goals, while Elyssa Rees and Brigid McEntee again starred for the Burra. Hurstbridge was well served by Melissa Martini, who booted two goals, and Chloe Topperwien.
In the sole game in Mirvac Division 3 Women’s in the opening week of the split round, Mernda continued its good form to all but assure itself a double chance in the finals. The third-placed Demons were too good for VU Western Spurs, who sit in fourth, winning by 23 points at Waterview Recreation Reserve. The home side led a low-scoring game by seven points at three quarter time, before adding two goals in the final term to put the result beyond doubt. Natalie Todaro was again the standout for Mernda, with great support from Shenay Reeves and Haley Hoysted. Sophie Rohkamper was best in defeat for the Spurs.