The final round of grading in the NFNL Women’s competition saw the strongest sides show their might.
The fourth and final round of grading commenced under lights on Friday night, where Diamond Creek Women’s 1 were at their clinical best in an 86-point win over Eltham at Eltham Central Park. Linda Thorp was unstoppable in attack and booted a season-best eight goals to storm to the top of the goal kicking table at the end of grading. The Creekers were just as dominant in their defensive end and did not cough up a score in the big win which maintained their unbeaten start to 2021. Monique DeMatteo, Stacey Cross and Shae Audley were also dominant, while Claudia Williver was again the best player for Eltham.
Bundoora and Heidelberg played out a memorable game at Yulong Reserve on Saturday, with the Tigers securing their second win of the campaign with a come-from-behind 26-point triumph. Bundoora made a flying start to the game, with the home side booting four of the opening five goals to lead by 18 points at the first change. But the complexion of the match completely turned after quarter time, with Heidelberg fighting hard to work its way back. The Tigers reduced their deficit to just three points by half time, before running away with the win on the back of a four-goal to nil second half. Emma Rowe was the hero with six goals and received great support from Mia Tascone and Ashleigh Riley (two goals). Bundoora’s best was Rebekah Blennerhassett.
Both Montmorency teams remain undefeated after the Magpies secured a double over Darebin at Montmorency Park on Sunday. Montmorency 2 led from start to finish over Darebin 2 in a 19-point win in the early game. The Magpies were fast out of the blocks and enjoyed an 18-point buffer at quarter time courtesy of three goals in the opening term. The contest was much tighter over the next three quarters, but the home side had already done the damage to ensure it notched a fourth-successive win. Bailey Schultz and Sarah Townsend were the standouts, with Schultz’s performance including three majors. Jessica Marks continued her hot form for the Falcons, while Ruby Cray kicked both her side’s goals.
It was a similar margin in the match between Montmorency 1 and Darebin 1, with the Magpies securing a 17-point victory. Goals were kicked in two-goal spurts during the match, with Montmorency booting the only two goals of the first term, before the Falcons responded with two of their own in the next. The third quarter saw Montmorency return fire with two unanswered goals, which proved to be the last majors of the game ahead of a goalless last quarter. Chiara Scuderi played a leading role for the Magpies, with Shae Collinson also impressing. Claire Hardi was at her best for Darebin, while Lilly Primerano capped a good showing with a goal.
VU Western Spurs 1 returned to form in a big way, with the reigning Division 1 premier ending a two-game losing streak with a thumping win over previously undefeated Lower Plenty. Both sides had their kicking boots on early, with the Spurs leading 6.0 to 3.0 at quarter time as the ball zipped from end to end. But after the first break it turned to one-way traffic as the Spurs well and truly hit their straps – booting 13 unanswered goals thereafter. Aleisha Casley, Rebecca Foggie and Stacy Rigon combined for 13 goals, while Rita Ceravolo contributed heavily.
West Preston-Lakeside and Greensborough enjoyed an outstanding contest at J.E. Moore Park, with the Boro coming out on top by eight points. There were several lead changes in the opening half before the visitors found some breathing space during the third term to lead by nine points at the final change. The Boro held on during a tense final term to return to the winners list and notch their third win of the year. Meg Nelsen and Kyla Parry led the way, while Jessie Hulett booted three goals. West Preston-Lakeside was well served by Michelle Millhouse and Isabelle Conroy, while Jessica Bamblett finished with three majors.
Fitzroy Stars enjoyed its historic first win in the NFNL Women’s competition in a commanding 47-point win over Reservoir. The Stars led by 17 at the main break but went on with the job after half time – adding another five goals in the second half. Valiecia Kelly-Briggs capped a best on ground performance with three majors, while Leah Seeto and Kristen Atkinson were also key contributors in victory that will long be remembered at the club. Jaydah Hope was outstanding once again for Reservoir.
Hurstbridge recorded its second-successive victory, with the Bridges proving too good for Laurimar in a 38-point triumph. Similar to last week’s win over the Fitzroy Stars, the Bridges made a brilliant start and led by 20 points at quarter time. Laurimar responded during the second term to trim the margin to two goals, however a 2.7 to 0.0 third term to Hurstbridge ensured the result was beyond doubt be three-quarter time. Usual suspects Keely Fitzgerald, Renee Grant and Rebecca Hayes (three goals) all performed well for Hurstbridge, while Kiera Hunter was Laurimar’s best.
Diamond Creek Women’s 2 won a thriller against St Mary’s in a three-point result at Plenty Park. It was the second-successive nail-biter for the Burra, who recorded a draw against Wallan last week. Goals were hard to come by early, with Diamond Creek Women’s leading at the main break despite registering just one goal. The Creekers booted two majors in the third term to lead by nine points at the last change, before holding out the Burra in a tense last quarter. Olivia Caruana was best for the victors, while Sidney Anderson had a good game for St Mary’s.
Whittlesea’s strong form continued, with the Eagles notching their second win on the trot in a 32-point victory over Wallan at the Whittlesea Showgrounds. Trailing by five points at quarter time, the Eagles broke the game open with a four-goal to nil second term to lead by 23 points at half time. The home side capped the win with two more goals in the last term. Kelly Lynch played her best game since joining the Eagles, while Tiana Markey again excelled and booted two goals. Olivia Attard and Kelly Lennox led from the front for Wallan.
Banyule and Mernda played out an entertaining match in the twilight game at Beverley Road Oval, with the Bears prevailing by 13 points. Mernda held a slight lead at quarter time before Banyule opened a 10-point gap at half time courtesy of a three-goal second quarter. The Bears stayed ahead throughout the second half, although Mernda was never out of the game at any stage. Drew Barnes continues to shine for Banyule and was among the club’s best players for the third-successive match, while Samantha Temple was again influential. Mernda was guided by strong showings from Natalie Todaro and Bernadette Azzopardi.