By Alyce Collett
After narrowly avoiding a massive upset, Healesville are the first team through to the Eastern Region Women’s Outer East Division Grand Final after defeating Monbulk by a goal.
Undesirable, but very typically Melbourne wintery conditions greeted the teams at the start of the game, with much of the first quarter a very even contest.
The first score was a behind to Healesville, about halfway through the quarter.
Monbulk’s first scoring opportunity came after a double 50 metre penalty. Unfortunately for the Hawks, their initial shot did not make the distance, but after some great defensive pressure they had another shot but it was a behind.
Healesville got the first goal of the game on the board with only a few minutes left in the term, and held a seven point lead at the first break.
Play had to stop moments before the quarter time siren after Monbulk’s Caitlyn Harris was stretchered off with what was later confirmed to be a knee injury.
Conditions worsened in the 2nd term, but the contest remained quite even.
This time around it was the Hawks who hit the scoreboard first, with a behind. Monbulk finally got a goal on the board midway through the term through spearhead Kathryn Gow.
For the next few minutes after that the ball remained in Healesville’s forward 50 and they were eventually rewarded for their effort with their 2nd goal. In the end they held a one goal lead at the main break.
The ball spent all the early moments of the third term in Healesville’s forward half, but Healesville took a while to eventually score three points within about a minute.
Gow eventually got her second to bring the margin back to three points, and Monbulk had their chances late in the term, but in the end Healesville’s lead was five points at the final change.
Conditions did not get easier in the last quarter, and one again Healesville did all the early attacking. The Monbulk defence held strong and stopped Healesville scoring.
Special mention to Monbulk’s Indy Bakker, who put her body on the line to smother what would have been a certain Healesville goal.
Most of the quarter was quite an even contest. Monbulk were pushing for the last few minutes and looked like they were almost going to pinch a draw. They had a shot at goal seconds before the final siren, but ultimately it fell short and the mark was not paid.
Healesville now get the week off, while Monbulk face Thornton – Eildon for the other spot in the Grand Final.
Monbulk coach Lucas Jurey was obviously frustrated with the result, but it was not all negative.
“We were obviously disappointed to not come away with a win on the weekend, but we have taken a lot of confidence out of the game coming into our final against Thornton this week.”
“We were able to execute the aspects of our game that have come to form our identity this year really well. A return to our best contested work and our ability to shut down Healesville’s run and carry were really pleasing.”
“More importantly we have identified a few key areas for improvement going forward, sometimes you learn more from a loss than you do from a victory and we will look to rectify some of these areas this weekend.”
Healesville: Emily Hay, Jaimee Petersen
Monbulk: Kathryn Gow 2
After only winning one game in 2018, Thornton – Eildon are only one win away from a place in the Grand Final after defeating Yarra Junction by 14 points.
For the first ten minutes, Thornton – Eildon did all the attacking, and Yarra Junction struggled to get it to the attacking side of the centre.
Thornton – Eildon finally got a goal on the board at around the 10 minute mark through Kristy Pearce, but after that things seemed to flip.
Yarra Junction got more of the ball and were able to lock it up their end of the ground. They even had a few shots on goal but were ultimately not able to put anything on the board. In the end Thornton – Eildon took a nine point lead into the first change.
The second quarter started in a flash when Thornton – Eildon burst out of the middle and into their 50, but ultimately were not able to score. Yarra Junction finally got a score on the board early in the second term but it was only a behind.
Most of the quarter was a fairly even contest, although Thornton – Eildon finally got reward for effort at the 12 minute mark in the form of their second goal through Natasha Hay. Yarra Junction finally got their second score on the board with a minute to go, but it was once again only a behind.
Thornton – Eildon got the first clearance again in the third term but were not able to get as close to scoring as they did in the second term.
The first ten minutes of the term was a lot of back and forth with neither side really looking like scoring.
Thornton – Eildon finally got another score on the board at the 12 minute mark after a good chain of handballs, but unfortunately for them they only scored a behind.
Yarra Junction were then able to work it up to the other end and get it into their 50 but couldn’t quite score.
After that Thornton – Eildon kept attacking their goals, but the Eagles defence held strong and stopped Thornton – Eildon from scoring. Yarra Junction did have a couple of late inside 50s but couldn’t score. In the end, Thornton – Eildon’s behind was the only score of the quarter and the margin was 16 points at the final change.
As the rain descended and set in, the toughness of the contest did not let up.
Yarra Junction did all the early attacking in the last quarter but were once again unable to put any score on the board.
They were eventually able to put a behind on the board. Yarra Junction had a perfect chance for a goal from almost directly in front but ultimately the shot missed everything. Most of Yarra Junction’s attempts on goal would look promising, but in the end fall a few metres short straight into the arms of a Thornton – Eildon defender.
At times it was a brutal contest, with play having to stop at least once a quarter for an injury.
Things could have been very different if either side had been more accurate. Yarra Junction could have won while Thornton – Eildon could have had an even bigger win.
Yarra Junction 0.4.(4)
Thornton – Eildon 2.6.(18)
Thornton – Eildon: Kristy Pearce, Natasha Hay
In what was at times a heated contest, Mt Evelyn have defeated Blackburn to move on to week two of the Premier Division finals.
Blackburn had the first two goals before Georgia Ploegsma pushed out of a scuffle in front the goal square to score the first goal for Mt Evelyn.
Ploegsma had her second just before the siren which saw Mt Evelyn take a one point lead into quarter time.
In the second quarter, Jessica Smith kicked an early goal before Blackburn replied with an urgently needed one of their own. Blackburn then had another before a 50m punt from Ploegsma dribbled through for a goal and she had her third.
Mt Evelyn were in front by the smallest of margins at half time but it was still anyone’s game.
After half time the rain came and settled in, and the scuffles began.
There was a scuffle in front of goals and Blackburn’s Ellie Cleland was able to kick the ball off the ground and through the big sticks for a goal.
The next goal came through a Blackburn mistake, which saw an easy goal for Lily Kelly.
Mt Evelyn’s rapid play on allowed Nolene Kingi to kick another goal for Mt Evelyn.
The next goal went to Blackburn, and with the weather threatening to worsen, the end of the third quarter came. The lead was Mt Evelyn’s, but only by one point.
Dropped marks were aplenty in the final term, as a wet ball slipped out of the hands of both teams.
The scuffles returned in the fourth quarter, but in the end it was a three point win to Mt Evelyn.
Nicole Akers, Jennifer Anderson, Isobel Urquhart and Jessica Ploegsma were among the best for Mt Evelyn.
Meanwhile in the Division One elimination final, Upwey Tecoma were too strong for East Ringwood, winning by 38 points.
Although the margin was only ten points at quarter time, the Tigers were much more accurate in front of goal, and that continued in the second term.
By half time, the Tigers were double East Ringwood’s score and the lead had blossomed to 22 points.
The third term saw the Tigers restrict the Roos to only one goal and although Upwey Tecoma were outscored in the last quarter, the margin was already too big for East Ringwood to catch up.
Upwey Tecoma had seven different goal kickers. Corinna White kicked four goals, while Jessica Occhipinti, Madison Walsh, Alexandria Bantock each kicked two. Emma Caccetta, Kiana Oates, Samantha Searle each kicked one goal, and Monica Vantilburg and Rebecca Robinson were among the best players for the Tigers. They will now look ahead to next week and will be hoping to continue their winning form against South Croydon.
Upwey Tecoma coach Bernie Ryan said the game “was a really good team effort in windy conditions. Girls worked hard at sticking to our game plan and structures.”