By Jarryd McGuane
Qualifying Final 1 –
Murrumbeena 7.13 (55) def Oakleigh District 2.9 (21)
Round 9 –
Oakleigh District 1.0 (6) def by Murrumbeena 15.14 (104)
It has been an exciting and action packed first season of the SFNL Women’s season with amazing football being played through out from all 10 teams.
It all has to come to an end, but in this case with the best game of the season to become undefeated Murrumbeena and the ever-improving Oakleigh District.
Murrumbeena have been the class of the inaugural season and enter the Grand Final with the possibility of a perfect season still hanging over their head.
Beena have been led strongly by captain Grace Bibby, with her pace and silky ball skills setting her apart from her competition.
But the coach Emrys Lloyd-Griffiths said the team’s versatility is what they have had over the competition
“We have a lot of players that play all over the ground and it allows us to give the opposition a range of looks,” Lloyd-Griffiths said.
Danielle Wearne, Emma Morison, Lauren Luff, Rebecca Niclasen, Shanae Carter, Aisling Muir and Alice Kovess have all taken their turn to dominate the games and have shared the limelight around.
Lloyd-Griffiths also believes that his side’s speed will play in their favour.
“We know that we are a faster side than Oakleigh District, so we will look to exploit that.”
Oakleigh District coach Leigh Morgan agreed that his team will not be the faster team but it does not create fear.
“They have opened us up with their speed this year, but we have been exploring plans to the lessen advantage,” Morgan said.
Morgan said the Oaks have been able to change their game plan as the year has gone on due to the gaining of skills from the first-year players.
“We had a number of players that did not know the game and the terminology, so some of the intricacies were not be able to be in the game plan.
“Now we can ask the girls to ‘man up’ and they understand the advantage that it can create when players have to work hard for the ball.”
Emily McIntyre’s move to the forward line is the other major change for Oakleigh District, with it allowing a more expansive game.
“We moved Emily forward to add more firepower because we found out defensively we able to hold teams to low scores when she missed a couple of games,” Morgan said.
“It now means we don’t have to rely on holding the opposition below four goals to get wins, because Emily’s knowledge and football nuisances allows us to get more attacking.”
Also look for ruckwoman Jess Szalek, midfielders Jodie Bray and captain Rachel McNamara, tagger Clare Morgan, defenders Alana Brown and Lexy Amvazas to be influential in the Oakleigh District performance.
I expect this game to go down to the wire, with Murrumbeena claiming the inaugural SFNL Women’s premiership with a perfect season.
Murrumbeena by three points.