FIRST FINALS DELIVER THE ACTION
By KEL ROWE
The first round of finals in the VU Polytechnic Senior Women’s competition did not disappoint, with tough matches played out by both Division 1 and 2 contenders in perfect sunny conditions.
Spotswood went head-to-head with Werribee Centrals at Saltwater Reserve in the first Division 1 Semi Final for the weekend. Holding the lead at every change, the Wolves prevailed by 2 goals at the final siren, forcing the Centurions to rely on their second chance to reach the Grand Final.
Molly Althouse starred for the Spotswood side kicking 2 majors and earning best-on honours and was well supported by the efforts of teammates Jacinta Reid and Mel Freeman. Despite the result, Meghann Basto and Giselle Lambley were influential for the Centurions.
The Wolves have a week off to prepare for the Big Dance, whilst Werribee Centrals must go again in the Preliminary final next weekend to keep their chances alive.
The first Division 2 Semi Final saw Wyndhamvale take on Spotswood, in an epic match-up that was sent into extra time to decide a winner. The game was anyone’s to win, with both sides landing squarely on 35-points apiece at the final siren. Extra time saw both the Wolves and the Falcons attack and defend in desperation, with Wyndhamvale gaining the upper hand and winning by just 2-points.
Kellee McIntosh hit the scoreboard in usual fashion for 2 majors, and Eloise Ettridge starred around the ground for the Falcons; whilst Jazmyn Mathers and Tamsyn Kirk (4 goals) worked hard for the Spotswood side.
Wyndhamvale head straight to the Grand Final, whilst Spotswood must take their chances in an elimination Preliminary on Sunday.
On Sunday, Caroline Springs commenced their title defence, taking it up to the Parkside Spurs to claim a 78-point victory. The Spurs mounted a valiant challenge in the first quarter, keeping their opposition within a kick, but the Lakers surged away after the break. Lead by captain Caitlin Pretty, who kicked 3 majors; Hannah Herring and Larina Abary starred for the Caroline Springs side.
Nadine Lampard was the lone breadwinner for the Spurs, and was named in best alongside teammates Taquila Angel and Aleisha Casley. The Spurs finish their maiden season in the WRFL with heads held high, whilst the Lakers stay alive for another chance to defend their 2022 title.
To round out the weekend, West Footscray took on Laverton, in an entertaining battle for a spot in next week’s Preliminary final. The Rooster’s staked their claim, winning by 26-points, but had to withstand a late surge from the Magpies and work their way back into the contest.
Hayley O’Reilly and Sam Moodie were influential for Laverton, earning time in best, whilst teammate Rosa Deverell hit the scoreboard for 2 majors. Jemma Hay had a field day in front of goals for West Footscray, bagging 4, and captain Kathleen Gannon celebrated her 50th game of senior footy with a best on ground performance.
The Roosters progress to next Sunday’s do-or-die Prelim, a road to the Big Dance they know all too well, whilst the Magpies can rest and reflect on a brilliant return to their competitive best in Season 2023.