Women’s Premier Division MOTW: Bulldogs book a spot in the finals
Written by Michael Shillito
Southern Power vs. UNSW Eastern Suburbs Bulldogs – Waratah Oval on Saturday 17 August
Time marches on relentlessly and after a long home and away season, we made it to the final round on Saturday. While the first three spots in the finals were already locked in, there was one spot in the play-offs that was up for grabs. The stakes couldn’t be higher as the players made their way in the sunshine to Waratah Oval. Southern Power were playing host to UNSW Eastern Suburbs and for the winner, a spot in the finals. For the loser, the season comes to an end.
With so much to play for, the pressure was turned up and there was no margin for error. No quarter was asked or given in a tightly-contested opening quarter, as the big hits kept coming and loose possessions were hard to find. It was the home side who found the slightest of edges, as they landed the only goal of the opening quarter and led by eight points at the first change.
The star-studded Bulldogs fielded their strongest team all season and the second quarter was the time to make their move. And it came with an explosive burst of footy in the second term. Wasting no time in wiping out the quarter time deficit, the Bulldogs kept coming as they took a stranglehold on the contest and put the game back on their terms. Five times the Bulldogs would penetrate the big sticks during the second term, while holding the Power to a single major score. At half time, the Bulldogs had turned the deficit into a 19-point lead and the odds were in their favour.
The Power weren’t finished yet. They could have been shell-shocked at the long break, but they rallied in the third term and worked their way back into the contest. Undeterred by a Bulldog goal, the Power kept working, kept driving the ball towards their forward 50. Twice they managed to draw twin flags from the goal umpire, and created plenty more chances that they narrowly failed to convert. It had been a determined term of footy by the Power but the Bulldog defenders stood their ground against the onslaught in the latter stages of the quarter. The Bulldogs were desperately holding on to a 12-point advantage when the three quarter time siren sounded. The dream of being in the finals was alive, hope was in the air, and it was all going to come down to one more quarter.
The Power had fought strongly, but when it came to the crunch in the final term, they had nothing more to give. The Bulldogs still had enough in the tank to close the game out, not convincingly but enough to get the job done. Two more Bulldog goals in the final term would extend the final margin to 22 points, after a contest that for most of the afternoon looked destined to be much closer.
Rebecca Privitelli was pivotal on the forward line for the Bulldogs and ended up with four goals for the afternoon and along with Sandra Janjetovic and Tait Mackrill was among the Bulldogs’ best. It’s been a season of twists and turns for the Bulldogs, but in the end they’ve made it through to the finals. It will be sudden death all the way, but their hopes of back to back premierships remain alive.
The Power found solid service all afternoon from Alexa Cardassilaris, Nicholle Cooke-Hayes and Kristy De Pellegrini. But in the end, they fell agonisingly short of taking part in the business end of the season after being level on games with the Bulldogs but just six percentage points behind. There were plenty of positives this season for the Power, and some promising talent has made its way into the team in 2019 that will see them well placed to hit back in 2020. But for now, their season has come to an end.
In other results in the final round, Macquarie Uni fell over the line by a point in a tight and low-scoring arm wrestle against Sydney Uni. East Coast Eagles underlined their class as minor premiers as they held Inner West scoreless to win by 130 points at Kanebridge Oval. And UTS AFC got up in a tight one by just eight points against Newtown, condemning the Breakaways to a winless season.
And so for Southern Power, UTS AFC, Inner West and Newtown, the season is over and it’s time to prepare for a rise up the ladder in 2020.
Womens Premier Division takes a week off before the finals. We return on August 31st with East Coast Eagles and Macquarie Uni will playing off for a spot in the Grand Final. Then on the Sunday, Sydney Uni and UNSW-ES will take part in a battle to the sudden death.
The business end of the season has come. Bring on the finals!!
UNSW Eastern Suburbs Bulldogs – 0.0 | 5.3 | 6.3 | 8.3 (51)
Southern Power – 1.2 | 2.2 | 4.3 | 4.5 (29)
UNSW-ES Goals – R Privitelli 4, I Nielsen 2, A Parkin 1, R Mount 1
Southern Power Goals – A McClure 2, R Lotter 1, N Smith 1
UNSW-ES Best – S Janjetovic, R Privitelli, T Mackrill, J Hicks, A Parkin, I Nielsen
Southern Power Best – A Cardassilaris, N Cooke-Hayes, K De Pellegrini, M Smith, L Holdsworth, J Wrigley