The Swisse Wellness VFL Women’s top four got a shake-up in Round 11 with wins to Darebin, Geelong, Cranbourne, St Kilda and Melbourne Uni.
As Callum O’Connor reports, Melbourne Uni steamrolled an injury-hit VU Western Spurs at Melbourne University Oval. The Mugars controlled the match with lateral ball movement and Moana Hope was often at her mercurial best with a six-goal haul in the 12.6 (78) to 1.3 (9) victory.
Sitting in fourth and third place respectively, the match was a must-win for both Melbourne Uni and the Spurs. The Spurs would rue the loss of injured forwards Harriet Cordner, Aleisha Newman and Ainslie Kemp as well as defensive anchor Lauren Senserrick, but from the outset it was the Mugars’ scintillating disposal that settled the match. Melbourne Uni was well served at the stoppages by Emma Kearney, Maddie Keryk and Ellie Blackburn, and regularly switched the ball as Alicia Eva and Kaitlyn Ashmore had field days playing on the wing.
The Mugars were only partially successful in translating their midfield dominance onto the scoreboard in the first half: A forward line with key targets Jess Anderson and Lauren Spark and dangerous smalls Deanna Berry, Moana Hope and Hannah Ibrahim combined for just 4.5 (29) to the main break despite receiving constant delivery.
However, by three-quarter time it was apparent the Spurs couldn’t catch Melbourne Uni. Too often their forwards were sucked up beyond the middle of the ground, leaving nothing for their teammates to kick to on the occasions when they broke out of stoppages. On-ballers Ash Guest and Shelley Scott were tireless and defender Danni Teasdale used her experience to fill the hole left by Senserrick, but the Spurs were haunted by the players who weren’t there. The loss was further soured by an injury to defender Amanda Tessari.
The Mugars finally gained reward for their dominance in the last quarter and their fans were left thrilled as Hope stamped her authority on the contest. The marquee recruit from St Kilda had been serviceable in her first two games following a posterior cruciate ligament injury but reminded everyone of her brilliance in a four-goal final term. Already stretched to the limit for three quarters, the Spurs had no answer to the rampaging Hope’s showcase. Ashmore and Eva got in on the act with goals of their own as Melbourne Uni slammed on 7.0 to 1.1 in the final quarter to run away with a 69-point win.
Mugars coach Andrew Jago was pleased with his side’s forward set-up: “We’ve now got that nice mix of genuine talls in Jess Anderson and Lauren Spark with the smalls in Hope, Berry and McIntosh, and we’ve still got Kate Shierlaw to come back in as an extra option at both ends of the ground.”
The win puts the Mugars in third position, percentage ahead of St Kilda and a game clear of the fifth-placed Spurs.
— #PJVFL / #VFLWomens (@VFL) August 6, 2017
In other Round 11 results:
- Darebin evened the ledger for 2017 against Diamond Creek with a 7.10 (52) to 4.3 (27) win in their top-of-the-table blockbuster at Bill Lawry Oval. The Falcons slammed on five unanswered goals across the second and third quarters to avenge their defeat earlier in the season and displace the Creekers at the top of the ladder for the first time since Round 5. CLICK HERE for a full replay
- Geelong recorded a crucial 4.5 (29) to 2.3 (15) win on the road against the Box Hill Hawks. The Cats kept the Hawks goalless in the second half, with Maddie Boyd and Hannah Burchell playing last quarters to remember. Although reliant on other results falling its way, sixth-placed Geelong’s finals chances are still alive.
- Cranbourne returned to the winner’s list for the first time since Round 5 with a 33-point win over bottom-placed Seaford at Frankston Oval. Breann Moody dominated in the middle for the Eagles while Bianca Jakobsson made the most of a turn up forward with three goals in the 7.8 (50) to 2.5 (17) win.
- St Kilda claimed the second annual R U OK? Cup against the Eastern Devils at the Peanut Farm Reserve. The seventh-placed Devils pushed the Sharks all the way, but St Kilda forward Jasmine Garner proved the difference with a bag of five goals in the 7.10 (52) to 6.6 (42) win.