Women’s Premier Division MOTW: Bats claw their way back in final quarter

Image courtesy of Leigh Gazzard

 

Written by Michael Shillito

UTS Australian Football Club vs. Inner West Magpies – Trumper Park on Saturday 20 July

When it comes to making a run for the finals this year, UTS AFC Bats and Inner West Magpies have probably left their run too late. But there was nothing late about their clash at Trumper Park on Saturday, with the teams kicking the dew off the grass during the warm-up before the 8:45am first bounce.

The Bats went into the clash with two wins on the board for the season, and out of finals contention. The Magpies had a chance, and with the higher-ranked Southern Power and UNSW-ES both playing teams above them, a win would put the Magpies well and truly into contention for that last finals spot.

Despite having so much to play for, the Magpies struggled to find their rhythm in the first quarter. It was a defensive scrap, with both teams showing far more enthusiasm than skill as they put on the heavy hits but struggled to get an attacking game plan implemented. Both teams were held to a single goal in the first quarter, with the Bats holding a two point advantage at the first change.

The second term saw the Magpies lift their work-rate around the ground, but some sloppy finishing on the forward line would cost them dearly. Goals were at a premium, and just one apiece was scored in the quarter. For much of the term the ball was camped on the Magpies’ forward line, but for all their hard work around the ground they could only manage behinds from shots that should have been converted. Even with the lack of converted opportunities, Inner West still managed to hold a narrow lead as the teams halted hostilities for the half time break.

It was a tight and tense opening half and nothing changed during the third quarter. The tension continued to build, as neither team was able to establish a decisive advantage over the other. For the Bats, in a challenging season, this was an opportunity to press their claim for a morale-boosting win. For the Magpies, their finals hopes were in the balance. No quarter was asked or given in another arm-wrestle of a quarter, the defensive moves of each side cancelling out the attacking flair of their opponents. Again, just one goal apiece was scored. The three quarter time siren sounded and a desperate struggle was unfolding with the Magpies hanging on to a two-point advantage.

The game was there to be won, it needed a team to step up and grab the prize that was on offer. When it came to the crunch, it was the Bats who stood and delivered. The Magpies had fought hard for three quarters, but at the critical moment they had nothing more to give. The Bats, scenting the opportunity, swooped and took advantage. Three unanswered goals in the final quarter was enough. For the Bats, it was a precious chance to sing the song. For the Magpies, the disappointment of their finals chances slipping away.

In the end, it was a 19-point win for the Bats. Leanne Behan, Carol Breen and Gillian Behan were the standout contributors for UTS AFC. Their third win of the season, and maybe their best.

The Magpies enjoyed solid service all morning from Melissa Freckelton, Laura Marshall and Amelia Causley-Todd. But this was one that got away from the Magpies who now find themselves two wins plus plenty of percentage out of the top four with just four rounds to go. It’s still mathematically possible to make the finals, but the odds are getting longer.

Other matches on Saturday saw Macquarie Uni maintain top spot as they dominated from start to finish to record a 92-point win over Newtown at Mahoney Park. East Coast Eagles were in control against UNSW-ES to win by 65 points at the Village Green. And Sydney Uni were untroubled to defeat Southern Power by 27 points at Sydney Uni No 1 Oval.

Macquarie Uni and East Coast Eagles have been the standout teams this season, and next Saturday sees them face off in a blockbuster clash that will likely determine the minor premiership. Third-placed Sydney Uni host Inner West, while Southern Power are at home to Newtown and an Eastern derby at the Village Green will see UNSW-ES take on UTS.

Match Results

UTS AFC – 1.2 | 2.3 | 3.3 | 6.6 (42)

Inner West Magpies – 1.0 | 2.4 | 3.5 | 3.5 (23)

UTS AFC Goals – C Breen 2, E Jenkins 2, K Daly, G Behan

Inner West Goals – M Freckelton, M Convery, K Lawson

UTS AFC Best – L Behan, C Green, G Began, D Geraghty, E Wilcox, E Treanor

Inner West Best – M Freckelton, L Marshall, A Causley-Todd, T Rantall, K Lawson, M Convery

 

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