MATCH REVIEWS: Women’s Premier Division Week Two Finals
Written by Phoebe McWilliams
Macquarie University vs. UNSW Eastern Suburbs – Saturday, September 1 at 9.40am, Blacktown International Sportspark
Macquarie University are the first team to progress to the AFL Sydney Women’s Premier Division Grand Final after a seven-point win over the UNSW Eastern Suburbs Bulldogs on Saturday at Blacktown International Sports Park.
The Warriors kept the Bulldogs goalless in the third quarter, which proved the difference in what was a close game throughout.
Both teams opened their scoring from forward pressure. First it was Macquarie University’s Laura Russell who caught her defender holding the ball, giving herself a set shot on goal. Then, soon after, UNSW Eastern Suburbs’ Rebecca Privitelli did the same thing up the other end to put through her side’s first for the morning.
The Bulldogs started the second quarter well with an accidental goal to Jemma Still. Still stole the ball out of the hands from her defender, kicked to a contest inside-50, however neither player got a hand on the ball and it bounced through for a goal.
Macquarie University’s captain, Amanda Farugia started to find plenty of the football playing as a small forward and also as a mid. For the Bulldogs it was defender Sera Kaukiono racking up the possessions. Kaukiono reads the play well and backs herself to leave her opponent when, which she did time and time again on Saturday.
Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, one of Kaukiono’s kicks out of defence landed in the hands Warrior, Ellie Brush, giving her a set shot on goal. Brush’s goal meant that the two sides went into half-time with even scores.
After the half-time break the game opened up and started to become more-free flowing. Russell kicked her second after intercepting a Sandra Janjetovic kick 20 metres out from goal, giving her side the perfect start to the second half.
UNSW Eastern Suburbs’ Jacinda Barclay started to get involved, pushing up the ground to take marks on her defensive-50 and Kaukiono continued to impress in defence where she put a couple of big hits on her opponents. However, the Bulldogs were unable to add to the scoreboard, meaning the Warriors went into the final term with a six-point lead.
The Bulldogs looked as they were going to even up scores again at the start of the final term when Edwina Ross took a strong mark inside-50. Ross went to play on, however a brilliant run down tackle by Brush saved a certain score.
Kristy Suttcliffe lifted in the final term and kicked her first goal for the game to give the Warriors a 13-point lead. The Bulldogs were able to scrape back with a goal in the dying moments of the game through Roxy McGee, but it was too late and the siren rang when the ball was bounced for the restart. The Warriors came away with a seven-point win and will go straight through to the Grand Final on September 15.
Auburn-Penrith Giants vs. Southern Power – Sunday, September 1 at 1.00pm, Blacktown International Sportspark
Auburn-Penrith came from behind to book their place in next weekend’s Preliminary Final against the UNSW Eastern Suburbs Bulldogs.
The Giants were trailing the Power at every break, but hit the front in the final quarter to take out the game by a mere three-points.
It was an absolute thriller that went down to the wire. With less than a minute remaining Southern Power’s Kristy De Pellegrini had a shot on goal from five metres out, on a tricky angle and under intense pressure. Unfortunately for the Power, the ball hit the post and a quick clearance from the Giants put the victory out of doubt.
It was a gallant effort by the Power who came out from the first bounce with intensity. Both teams enjoy contested football and the tackling and pressure from players around the ball was extreme. It was obvious that both sides wanted to continue through to the next week of finals.
The Power started well with two goals to one in the first quarter. Rebecca Sadler and Rheanna Lotter put scores on the board, whilst for the Giants some fancy footwork by Lael Kassem through traffic lead to her team’s first for the game.
The Power had the perfect start to the second quarter with Lotter kicking her second in the first thirty seconds of the term. After this goal the Giants threw utility player Renee Tomkins into defence and she had an immediate impact with her composure in the backline. She was assisted by Angela Priftis who took some important marks and has an excellent ability to hit up targets on the way out of defence.
This slowed down the Power’s attack and the Giants were able to respond with a steadier close to half-time through forward Jacqueline Gay.
The second term started in an unexpected way with only one side on the ground. The Power missed the half-time siren so the game re-started without any of their players on the ground. The result was that the Giants were able to carry the ball all the way up to the goal line where Gay put through her second.
Power players ran out onto the ground after this goal and to their credit got on with the job when they could have become frustrated with the situation. They kicked the next goal from a stoppage in front of goal. An excellent tap down from Emily Rohr fell straight into the hands of Lotter who put through her second.
The Giants answered when Tomkins kicked her first roving her own contest just in front of goal, but it wasn’t long before Power responded through Brooke Curren who gathered and had a shot on goal 20 metres out. The Power went into the final quarter with an 11-point lead.
There was a momentum shift in the final quarter with the ball remaining in the Giants half of the ground for the majority of the term. Nikki Perrett continued to win the ball for the Giants in the middle and tackling-machine Haneen Zreika lifted. Two free kicks lead to two shots on goal for the Giants, with Tomkins and Gay putting through their second and third goals respectively. The two goals put the Giants in front for the first time in the game.
The Power’s only foray into the 50 was in the last minute when De Pellegrini’s shot on goal hit the post.
The Giants came away three-point winners and will take confidence from a come-from-behind victory into their next match against the Bulldogs.
Phoebe McWilliams is a current AFL Women’s player, recently signed by the Geelong Cats after two years spent with the GWS GIANTS. McWilliams is also a freelance writer for publications such as Inside Football Magazine. Following the 2018 NAB AFL Women’s season, McWilliams is playing for Hawthorn in the Swisse VFL Women’s competition in Victoria, while writing for AFL Sydney.