Women’s Premier Division MOTW: Auburn-Penrith serve Mac Uni a scare

Image courtesy of Zak Kaczmarek.


Written by Phoebe McWilliams.

Top of the table Macquarie University continued their unbeaten run on the weekend with a narrow seven-point win against the Auburn-Penrith Giants at University Oval.

The absence of the competition’s leading goal kicker Simone Freeman from the Warriors’ forward line left big shoes to fill, and despite having several opportunities early, Macquarie were unable to capitalise on their forward-50 entries.

Macquarie’s midfield was able to put together a number of impressive handball chains from stoppages but kicks into their forward line were often rushed and missed targets. As a result, Giant’s ruck Renee Tomkins was able to take a number of intercept marks and then clear the ball from danger through her long kicking.

When entering their forward-half, the Giants also had difficulty hitting up targets. Macquarie’s Pippa Smyth and Kristy Sutcliffe had a field day on the half-back line, racking up possessions and transitioning their side from defence into attack.

It wasn’t until well into the second quarter that either team was able to score a major, when finally Macquarie’s Aislinn Albury kicked the first goal of the game from a set-shot 20m out in front. The goal gave her side a five-point lead heading into the half-time break.

Scores continued to be few and far between in the second half, as the two sides’ midfields went head-to-head in what was an even contest all day. Hard tackling by Macquarie’s Ellie Herron kept the Giants from being able to clear stoppages, whilst for Auburn-Penrith it was hard-hitting Haneen Zreika who applied strong tackling pressure.

Suttcliffe kicked Macquarie’s only goal for the third, and the Giants finally got a goal on the board through Melissa Brydon. Macquarie Uni went into the three-quarter time break with a three-point lead.

In the final term the Giants hit the lead for the first time in the match with a goal to Kate Easthope. However, some undisciplined actions from the Giants resulted in two 50m penalties being gifted to Macquarie’s Smyth in the final minutes. The penalties allowed Smyth to have a shot on goal from the top of the goal square, which she put through to win the game for her side.

New recruit Lisa Steane was Macquarie University’s best on ground for the match. Steane recently moved to Sydney from Nelson Bay to follow her AFL dream.

“That was probably the closest game we’ve had. We haven’t really had a scare where we have been behind, so it was good to see that we can work together and come back. We definitely made it harder than it should have been to win, but it was a good game,” tells Steane.

“In the end they almost lost the game more than we won it. We just capitalised on those opportunities and were more disciplined. I think a lot of it came down to our experienced players.”

In other matches on the weekend, the UNSW Eastern Suburbs Bulldogs (17.16.118) outplayed the UTS Shamrocks (1.5.11) by 107 points. Bulldogs forward, Rebecca Privitelli booted another bag. Her four goals on the weekend now put her at top of the competition’s goal kicking tally with 11 goals.

Sydney University were boosted by the return of GWS GIANTS AFL Women’s ruck, Erin McKinnon in their match again the Newtown Breakaways. The Bombers also welcomed new recruit and fellow GWS GIANTS player, Louise Stephenson in for her first game.  Sydney University (4.10.34) defeated Newtown (2.1.13).

Finally, Southern Power (5.8.38) convincingly defeated the Western Wolves (2.3.15).

Phoebe McWilliams is a current AFL Women’s GWS GIANTS player, who is also a freelance writer for publications such as Inside Football Magazine. Following the 2018 NAB AFL Women’s Season, McWilliams will be playing for the Hawthorn Football Club in the VFLW for the remainder of the year.

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