Finals footy makes its return to Preston City Oval with three massive NFNL women’s preliminary finals set to take place this Sunday.
WINNING EDGE DIVISION 1 WOMEN’S
Preliminary Final: West Preston-Lakeside 1 vs Darebin 1
West Preston-Lakeside 1
Ladder: 3rd (9-4; 206.48%)
Leading goalkicker (post-grading): Mikalee Maroney (10)
Most times in best (post-grading): Ashleigh Snow (10), Tallia Pulcino (9), Kasey Lennox (8)
Ladder: 4th (8-4; 125.83%)
Leading goalkicker (post-grading): Chloe Williams (19)
Most times in best (post-grading): Julia Phung (7), Nikita Magriplis (7), Chloe Williams (5)
Despite a gallant effort, the Roosters couldn’t reproduce their victory against Diamond Creek Women’s 1 earlier this season, going down to the Creekers by 35 points in Saturday’s second semi-final.
But their opportunity to bounce back might not be smooth sailing as they face a Darebin 1 side who are flying at the minute, having won their past two finals which included a 67-point thumping of Montmorency 1 last week.
Two close encounters have taken place in both meetings between these two sides this year, West Preston-Lakeside prevailing by 13 points at home in Round 2 before the Falcons got one back almost exactly one month ago to defeat the Roosters by 12 points.
Victory for the Roosters would see them lock in a fourth meeting of 2022 against Diamond Creek Women’s and a crack at the clubs first women’s premiership since 2018. Darebin are still looking for their first flag in the women’s competition and another finals victory on Sunday will set up a historic clash with Creekers in the big dance.
SG PRINT & PAPER DIVISION 2 WOMEN’S
Preliminary Final: St Mary’s vs Banyule
Ladder: 1st (11-3; 494.67%)
Leading goalkicker (post-grading): Sarah Johnston (41)
Most times in best (post-grading): Elyssa Rees (11), Jessica Hardy (11), Sarah Johnston (8)
Ladder: 3rd (11-3; 383.09%)
Leading goalkicker (post-grading): Rebekah Di Paola (20)
Most times in best (post-grading): Hayley Moxon (9), Drew Barnes (7), Jane Cahir (7)
Having finished the season on top of the table, the Burra women will have to do it the tough way in order to book a first grand final appearance after falling to Eltham by 25 points last Saturday, their heaviest defeat this year.
Their opponents in Banyule will come into this clash filled with plenty of momentum having strung together a strong final quarter against Whittlesea to prevail by 27 points and avoid elimination.
You have to go all the way back to the third round of grading in April to find the last and only time these two teams had met. Under lights on a Friday night in a low scoring contest, the Bears held on to win by four points at Beverley Road Oval.
While the stakes are significantly greater on this occasion, expect this contest to be just as competitive as an inaugural grand final appearance awaits the victor.
CLEANING MELBOURNE DIVISION 3 WOMEN’S
Preliminary Final: Hurstbridge vs Mernda
Ladder: 2nd (10-4; 563.53%)
Leading goalkicker (post-grading): Belinda Harris (17 goals)
Most times in best (post-grading): Belinda Harris (10), Sheridan Bennett (10), Melissa Martini (8)
West Preston-Lakeside 2
Ladder: 3rd (7-7; 48.62%)
Leading goalkicker (post-grading): Ashlee Marston (8)
Most times in best (post-grading): Alyssa Delos (8), Helena Katsios (8), Marsa Arob (5)
The Bridges will come in as favourites in this match after not only pushing the minor premiers in Mernda last week, despite falling short by only 13 points, but also because have the edge over the Roosters, winning all three of their clashes so far in 2022.
For West Preston-Lakeside 2, it was an important victory last week over Laurimar in the first semi-final as they join their one’s side in playing off for a grand final.
But despite the odds being against them, finals is a different ball game and Preston City Oval could suit the Roosters more than then a Bridges side who typically play on a smaller oval.
Regardless, both sides will leave nothing on the field as they look to book their place on the main stage next Sunday.