Women’s Premier Division MOTW: Power shock the Bulldogs and move into finals contention
Written by Michael Shillito
UNSW Eastern Suburbs Bulldogs vs. Southern Power – Henson Park on Saturday 13 July
Rain and ground closures last week had forced the UNSW-ES Bulldogs v Southern Power match to be postponed. Fortunately after last week’s rain came the sunshine, and a dry day on Saturday meant that Henson Park was open and the match was finally able to be played.
In the context of this season, it was a high-stakes clash. Three runaway leaders have cemented their spots in finals. However it’s the top four who qualify for the finals and the battle for fourth place is still very much up for grabs. Going into Round 12 the Bulldogs and Power were level on games, and only a small percentage gap separating them. This was a clash that could be pivotal to how the finals would take shape.
The Bulldogs had a few big names missing on Giants VFLW duty, but there was still plenty of quality in their lineup. The Power were close to full strength, and all was in readiness for a high-stakes contest.
It was a hard-fought, physical contest and goals were hard to come by. Packs were forming around the ball, and running players given little room to move. This wasn’t a contest for the faint-hearted, it was for those who would put their body on the line and win the hard ball. Slow and steady play is what would win this race, and as the game drew on, gradually the Power pulled away.
This wasn’t a game of decisive breaks and there was no moment that turned the contest. The Power were able to come up with the critical goals when they mattered and their defence was magnificent. Any attempt by the Bulldogs to get back into the contest was foiled as their forwards were unable to penetrate Power’s stingy back line.
The Power would manage just five goals for the game, but it was more than enough against a Bulldogs side that could only manage two. A 24-point win was enough to move the Power into the winners’ circle, and into the top four.
Kathryn Hull, Jemima Wrigley and Natalie Smith were the standout contributors for the Power. It had been a tough contest, but they had the edge when it mattered which helped them get the job done.
While the Bulldogs were given solid service by Alison Parkin, Jacinda Barclay and Anna Pellen, they lacked the firepower where it was needed and were unable to accumulate enough avenues to goal to challenge the Power.
Five rounds remain before the finals. Macquarie Uni and East Coast have 11 wins, their place in the finals is mathematically guaranteed and unless something remarkable happens they will enjoy the double-chance in the finals.
Sydney Uni are two wins behind, and enjoy a four-game break over Southern Power. The Power now have a one game edge over UNSW-ES, with little to separate them so far as percentage is concerned. Inner West Magpies are a further game behind and still in the running for the finals. With both the Power and the Bulldogs taking on higher-ranked teams next weekend, this is the time the Magpies need to make their move. UTS AFC with two wins sit in seventh place, ahead of the winless Newtown.
Southern Power – 2.2 | 3.7 | 4.7 | 5.12 (42)
UNSW Eastern Suburbs Bulldogs – 1.5 | 1.5 | 2.6 | 2.6 (18)
Southern Power Goals – K Beesley 1, N Smith 1, J Wrigley 1, A McClure 1, B Curren 1
UNSW-ES Goals – J Barclay 1, S Griffiths 1
Southern Power Best – K Hull, J Wrigley, N Smith, J Picton, A Cardassilaris, N Murray
UNSW-ES Best – A Parkin, J Barclay, A Pellen, S Griffiths, T Bool, S Koh