Preliminary Finals: Women's Football Review
Finals Match Report – Women’s Preliminary Finals
Casey Thunder 2 Vs Clayton
Down at Meade Reserve, Clayton, the weather looked like it would rain at any moment. The overcast clouds and wind didn’t look like it would bring any favours for the Preliminary Final clash between the Clayton “Claydies” and Casey Thunder 2.
Thunder brought the pressure early, repeatedly locking it in their half of the oval, not allowing Clayton to clear it in any way. Ruby Bastian laid an excellent run-down tackle to earn a free, sending the ball into the Casey forward line. Moments later, Houda Sidani kicked the first goal of the match when the ball went over the heads of her and her opponent, allowing her to pick up the ball and run into an open goal square. Sidani also kicked the second goal for the match when she kicked the ball through a pack.
Amie Jackson and Evangelia Nikolitsis linked up across the ground, kicking accurately and marking to give Stephanie Sandoval the chance to line up for goal. Jackson played on and missed, but Clayton had another shot on goal when it was recalled to Lauren Linton for a free, also resulting in a miss before the end of the quarter.
Tamara Tomamichel was strong in the midfield, providing a pillar for Casey with multiple strong marks. Casey led going into the first break 2.4-16 to Clayton’s 0.1-1.
Thunder continued their attacking pressure, the ball was kicked through forward line congestion, and Dannielle Shedden took the opportunity to pick up the ball, run into an open goal square and kick the opening goal of the quarter. Sarah Collins smothered the ball off the boot, but she took it back from the air and sent it towards Shedden who took the mark and lined up for goal. The ball was looking like it would miss, but the wind aided Thunder and carried it through for a goal.
Their next goal came when they were awarded a free kick, resulting in the ball being sent forward. Emily Browning marked and proceeded to show her strength with a booming kick that split the middle of the goals, comfortably making the distance! Casey continued their goal streak when Alexandra Assini fought off her opponent to kick a major from a snapshot.
Clayton upped their defensive effort, with a beautiful textbook tap down by their ruck, Zana Collins, to Sandoval, who cleared it from the centre bounce into the Clayton forward line. The Clayton midfielders joined together for a solid effort to send the ball out of their defence towards the end of the quarter. The intensity was evident from both sides going into the main break, but Casey was dominating 6.4-40 to Clayton’s goalless 0.4-4.
Clayton started the third quarter with renewed determination to fight their way back. The Claydies had upped their intensity, allowing Nikolitsis to kick their first goal after a contested mark.
Sandoval for Clayton completed a leaping mark to line up for goal, but the kicked missed and picked up by teammate Nikolitsis, who went on to kick her second goal. Sandoval continued her great quarter with a sensational run, handballed the ball forward, running onto it to retake possession, evading a tackle by spinning and changing direction, and launched the ball into the Clayton forward line.
Clayton dominated the quarter, kicking two goals and only allowing Casey to kick a single behind. With the margin decreased, Casey led Clayton 6.5-41 to 2.7-19 at the final break.
Clayton continued their fightback, kicking another goal this quarter. Casey managed to turn the momentum back into their favour, with Bastian smothering the ball to prevent it clearing out of Thunder’s forward line. Zara Strang and Browning were both solid, taking multiple marks, with the latter taking another booming kick at goal that was ultimately offline.
In the end, their lead from the first half was enough to see Casey Thunder 2 hold off a fired-up Clayton to earn their spot in the SFNL 2022 Women’s Football Division 2 Grand Final. Casey Thunder 2 will take on Black Rock in the Grand Final, in a repeat clash of the Semi Final. The standouts were Dannielle Shedden and Emily Browning for Casey, and Stephanie Sandoval and Evangelia Nikolitsis for Clayton.
Casey 2 6.7-43
Endeavour Hills Vs Murrumbeena
The overcast weather and wind stayed for the second preliminary final of the day, with Endeavour Hills and Murrumbeena to go head-to-head to fight it out for the last spot in the Women’s Football Division 1 Grand Final. It was a battle of the midfield, with both teams applying pressure and locking the ball down.
Sarah Wallace was excellent in the midfield, taking several intercept marks from rebound balls, sending them back into the Falcon’s forward line. Julia Hockey was strong in defence, making contests and forcing turnovers to clear the ball. Murrumbeena had an excellent passage of play, starting when Paulina Tragarz marked the ball in the Lion’s defensive half, kicked it to Ellen Block who also marked, and sent it into their forward line where Michelle Kinsella marked and had a shot on goal. The ball fell short, and after clearing it through the pack, Block kicked towards goal, but it was overturned and called touched off the boot.
It was a great defensive effort from both Endeavour Hills and Murrumbeena, with only one behind being scored for the quarter. Murrumbeena controlled the ball well for the entire quarter but were unable to capitalise on their forward entries. The scores sat at 0.0-0 to Endeavour Hills and 0.1-1 to Murrumbeena.
The second quarter saw a fiery Endeavour Hills dig deep and fight back, coming out hard from the first bounce. The Falcons were hard at the contest, earning several frees that allowed them to send the ball into their forward 50. This resulted in Wallace receiving a handball from a ball up and kicking a snap for the first goal of the match.
Emma Morison for Murrumbeena brought the pressure in the midfield, applying several tackles to force ball ups and turn overs. Ally Williams kept her feet steady when taking on two Endeavour Hills forwards,and cleared the ball out of their defence whilst under immediate pressure.
Wallace kicked her second goal for the match after a tackle on Murrumbeena’s Tragarz. She lined up for goal and kicked it through for a major. Going into half time, Endeavour Hills had given themselves a good lead, leading Murrumbeena 2.2-14 to 0.1-1, keeping them goalless for the half.
To start the second half, Endeavour Hills increased their intensity and fought hard to extend their lead. Their defence worked solidly together, making it near impossible for Murrumbeena to get near their goals. Grace Bibby and Tess Williams stood up for Murrumbeena, with Bibby taking a solid mark, and Williams smothering it off the boot to prevent it from exiting the Lion’s forward line. However, the Falcons were able to immediately pick it up and clear it out.
Harmony Thomas tackled and prevented what would have been a goal to Murrumbeena, forcing a ball up. In the Endeavour Hills forward line, Alyssa Weston executed a run-down tackle, causing the ball to spill, she kept her feet and was able to take possession of the ball, run into an open goal square and boot it through for a goal. Thomas was everywhere in defence for the Falcons, tackling and applying pressure to her opponents, and intercepting a kick by Tragarz.
Nicola Weston was excellent in defence this quarter, applying multiple tackles and being rewarded with free kicks, allowing her to clear it from their backline. Heading into the final break, Endeavour Hills had extended their lead, the scores sitting at Endeavour Hills 3.3-21 to Murrumbeena 0.1-1.
Murrumbeena started the final quarter strong, with Morison providing a spoil that prevented Endeavour Hills from scoring a goal. However, Tarryn Hart was able to mark it on the 50-metre line, locking the ball in. She kicked it to Thomas who took the mark but kicked it across the face.
Endeavour Hills continued their past-paced game play with Rebecca Sherry swerving past two opponents to kick it into the forward line. The only 50 metre penalty came when Laura Jonston marked it on the 50 metre line and was awarded a 50 metre free kick for high contact. She lined up for goal but ultimately missed. Williams for Murrumbeena stood tall for her team, taking a strong contested mark.
Weston took possession of the ball as it flew over the pack, giving herself the space to run towards goal and kicked the last goal for the game. Kinsella showed her determination in a run down tackle in the Murrumbeena forward line, and was rewarded a free kick. Her kick missed across the face of goal.
Nicola Weston executed solid spoils through the quarter, providing a contest in the air. She was excellent in defence all day, blocking multiple would-be goals, shepherding her teammates and spoiling the ball. In one of the final passages of play for the game, Endeavour was given a free kick, it was passed to Thomas who marked and kicked it to Ashlee Jackson who marked it in the Falcon’s forward line. She took her shot on goal, but it hit the post.
Endeavour Hills proved to be too strong for the spirited Murrumbeena, defeating them to progress to the SFNL 2022 Women’s Football Division 1 Grand Final. They will face Casey Thunder 1 in a repeat of the 2nd Semi Final, seeking revenge. Standouts were Harmony Thomas for Endeavour Hills and Tess Williams for Murrumbeena.
Endeavour Hills 4.7-31