Written by David Redden


A four-goal burst in a crucial five minute-period in the third quarter was enough for AFL Sydney to hold off a fast-finishing AFL Canberra in a pulsating Women’s Representative fixture at the beautiful (but chilly) Manuka Oval on Saturday. Final scores were AFL Sydney 6.8.44 to AFL Canberra 4.7.31.

In a high-quality match played in a strong southerly breeze that made scoring at the Press Box End very difficult, the defensive pressure applied by both teams was elite. Time and again, effective tackling and desperate scrambling featured as both the Sydney and Canberra teams battled to put together open, fluent passages of play.

A low-scoring first half saw Sydney lead Canberra by a solitary point at the main break. Canberra kept Sydney to two goals in the first quarter against the breeze, and Sydney returned the favour in the second quarter, keeping Canberra to 1.3.9, featuring some desperate one on one tackles and great discipline inside their defensive fifty metre arc.

It was the so-called “Premiership Quarter” where AFL Sydney set up their victory. Sydney kicked 4.2.26 to 0.1.1 down breeze, with a withering five-minute burst proving pivotal for the Sydneysiders. Canberra kicked two goals early in the final stanza to set up a thrilling finish, but Sydney held on grimly until the final siren, with defenders Zoe Hurrell, Abbey Martin and Renee Tompkins outstanding under immense Canberra pressure over the final ten minutes.

Brianna-Lee Wade (three goals) and Michelle Foscarini (two goals) led the way up front for Sydney, with Foscarini continuing her excellent early season form.

Sydney’s best players were Hurrell (who won the Medal as the best Sydney player on the ground), Martin (who played on the last line of defence), ruck Caitlin Reid, Foscarini and Sophie Kavanagh. Canberra was best served by their Best on Ground Medallist and skipper Zoe Skyrianos, Sophia de Castella, Shannon Brown, Olivia Fogarty and Greta Larkey.