GRAND FINAL PREVIEW AND PREDICTION: Women’s Premier Division
Written by Michael Shillito
Women’s Premier Division Grand Final
Macquarie University vs. East Coast Eagles – Saturday, 14 September at 1.30pm at Blacktown ISP Oval 1
Women’s footy has seen spectacular growth again this season, and the year reaches a climax with the Premier Division Grand Final. The match will be played at Blacktown International Sportspark on Saturday at 1:30pm.
It’s a clash between the old and the new. Macquarie Uni have been in womens’ footy for many years, have won premierships before. They missed out on the flag last year, going down in the Grand Final, but they’re back for another crack. While East Coast Eagles are in their third year of playing womens’ footy, their first at Premier Division level.
East Coast finished as Minor Premiers, with the Warriors finishing second after the regular season. But the Warriors, after a flying start, were first to get through to the Grand Final after a 22-point win in the Major Semi-Final. Then last week, while the Warriors took the week off, the Eagles bounced back with a 24-point win over Sydney Uni in the Preliminary Final to earn a re-match against the Warriors in the competition decider.
The Warriors won 15 of their 17 games during the home and away season, dropping only their two games against the Eagles and finishing in second place with 60 points and an imposing percentage of 753.99%; before making it straight through to the big game.
To get such an impressive record during the season needs some firepower up forward, and Melissa Brydon has led the way; drawing twin flags from the goal umpires 44 times this season. Laura Russell has contributed 20 goals to the Warriors’ cause, while Simone Freeman has chipped in with 19.
There are plenty of effective ball-winners in the Warriors’ line-up, none more so than Amanda Farrugia. The three-time Mostyn Medallist has appeared in the best player list in every one of the 13 games she has played for the Warriors this season. Meagan Kiely has been featured in the best player list 10 times and Pippa Smyth nine. The Warriors will be looking again to them to step up and get the job done.
East Coast have exceeded all expectations in their first season at this level. They finished as minor premiers, losing only one of their 17 games and accumulating a percentage of 600.44%. Nerves got to them early in the Major Semi-Final, which was to be expected; but they fought back well in the Preliminary Final to get through to the season decider.
Rylee McGartland has spearheaded the Eagles’ charge this year with 50 goals this season; while Elizabeth Wilson has contributed 39 goals. Delma Gisu and Shannon Smit have each landed 16.
Around the ground, Emily Goodsir, Renee Tomkins and Rylee McGartland have been consistent performers, each appearing 12 times in the best players list this season. These players have performed at the elite level whenever they have stepped on the field. After many great games this season the job is still not yet done, the Eagles need one more.
It’s the fourth meeting between the two teams this season. In round 2 at Kanebridge, the Eagles picked up a 16-point win and repeated the dose at Macquarie Uni in round 16, getting up in a two-point thriller. But in the Major Semi-Final, the Warriors turned the tables, defeating the Eagles by 22 points.
There won’t be much in this one. Both sides have swept all opposition away for most of the year; and these two teams have been the benchmark all season. The Warriors have had the advantage of the week off to get over any niggles, and took a key psychological edge against the Eagles just two weeks ago. It’ll be close, but the Warriors should have enough to just get over the line.
Prediction – Macquarie Uni by 6 points.