Grand Final Review – Women’s Premier Division
Written by Michael Shillito
Despite the challenges posed by the covid-19 pandemic, it’s been another solid year of growth in women’s footy. Three new teams joined Premier Division this season, with one of them making it through to the final game of the season as Manly Warringah Wolves took on Inner West Magpies at Kanebridge Oval.
The Wolves hit the ground running in Premier Division, finishing as minor premiers and then defeating East Coast in the Major Semi-Final to get straight through to the season decider. While the Magpies had to do it the hard way, with three sudden-death wins over North Shore, Southern Power and East Coast to get to the Grand Final.
The Wolves were refreshed, having only had one game in the last three weeks. But if the Magpies were carrying any fatigue into the game, they weren’t showing it during a tightly-contested first term. Both sides had plenty of numbers around the ball, and clean possessions weren’t easy to get. The Wolves had the only score of the quarter, a behind; but for much of the quarter it was a desperate scrap by two sides who were unwilling to concede an inch to their opponents.
After such a tight first quarter, the Magpies struck a blow early in the second, when Rebecca Privitelli pounced on a scramble in the goal square and snapped the goal through. It was first blood to the Magpies; but that would spur the Wolves into action.
Two minutes later, the Wolves were back in front when Emily Goodsir kicked truly on the run from the pocket. At the 10 minute mark, Jessica Doyle was paid a holding-the-ball free within striking distance and made no mistake. And when Phoebe Carter swooped on an errant kick-in after a behind and slammed it through the middle, the Wolves were out to a 17-point lead. The Manly faithful, colourfully decorated in fancy dress masks, face paint and big flags, were becoming increasingly vocal, as they could feel the momentum swinging their way.
Three goals behind at the long break, the Magpies had to lift. There was no time to lose, they had to make a quick impression to force their way back into the contest. And it was Privitelli who stood and delivered, dispossessing two Manly opponents before dribbling the goal through from a tight angle. But the Wolves had the quick answer, as Jess Doyle presented a one-out marking contest, and although she was unable to take the mark she recovered quickly to re-gather the ball and snap truly.
At the 16 minute mark, Erin Todd threw the Magpies a lifeline, marking 25 metres from home and her kick swung around to hit the target. The margin was back to 13 points, and the Magpies scented a chance. But they could do no more, as the Wolves controlled the ball and kept it in their forward 50 for the rest of the quarter; and Doyle’s third goal with a kick after the siren put the Wolves 20 points ahead at three quarter time.
The Magpies were on the ropes, and Caitlin Johnson delivered the knockout blow in the opening minute of the last quarter; a mark and goal putting the result of the game beyond doubt. Gillian Behan marked and goaled to cut the margin back to the three quarter time buffer, but the Magpies could get no closer. Time counted down, and with every stoppage the game was drifting out of the Magpies’ reach as the noise from the Manly crowd grew louder with every passing minute. This was Manly’s day, completing a dream season.
The Deborah Rogers Memorial Trophy for best on ground was taken out by Emily Goodsir, while Ash Carter and Jess Doyle were also prominent performers for the Wolves.
Elly Jenkins, Gillian Behan and Melissa Freckelton had been tireless workers all day for the Magpies. It had been a great performance to come from fifth to the Grand Final; but after getting through three knockout finals to get this far they were unable to take the final step. After getting the first goal, conceding three in a row in the second term put the Magpies too far behind.
But this was Manly’s premiership. Promoted to Premier Division this season, they assembled a team that went to the top of the ladder straight away and never looked back; dropping just one game for the season and setting a benchmark that other teams will be working hard to meet.
In 2013, Manly’s men’s team were promoted to Premier Division and took out the premiership in their first season at the top level. Now Manly’s women have done the same. Their men went back to back, and you certainly couldn’t rule out the women emulating that feat.
Manly-Warringah Wolves 0.1 3.8 5.9 6.10 (46)
Inner West Magpies 0.0 1.1 3.1 4.1 (25)
Manly – J. Doyle 3, A. Carter, E. Goodsir , C. Johnson.
Inner West – R. Privitelli 2, E. Todd, G. Behan.
Manly – A. Carter, J. Doyle, E. Goodsir , A. Roditis, C. Johnson, J. Layton.
Inner West – E. Jenkins, G. Behan, M. Freckelton, E. Todd, M. Montgomerie, E. Glynn.
At Kanebridge Oval, Saturday 10th October 2020.