In Round 5 Swisse Wellness VFL Women’s action, winners were Darebin, St Kilda, Eastern Devils, VU Western Spurs and Cranbourne.
An undermanned Cranbourne won its second match in a row with a gutsy six-point victory over a determined Seaford at Casey Fields.
With Jas Grierson injured and Bridie Kennedy, Holly Whitford and Darcy Guttridge representing Vic Country in the NAB AFL Women’s U18 Championships, the Eagles went into match needing to lift against the bottom-placed Tigerettes. The task became more challenging when key defender Leah Olsen was concussed late in the second quarter. However, through the performances of Breann Moody and Hayley Wildes helping their team dominate the clearances and forward entries, the home side held off a late Seaford surge to win 7.7 (49) to 7.1 (43), writes Callum O’Connor.
Early signs pointed to Cranbourne running all over Seaford, dominating the forward 50 entries. With Moody in total command in the ruck, the Eagles bombarded their forward line and would finish the day with 31 inside-50s to 16. Seaford coach Brett Alexander started key playmaker Kate Gillespie-Jones deep in defence on Cranbourne’s Bianca Jakobsson and while the Tigerette negated the Eagle, Jakobsson seized her chance and kicked two crucial goals when Gillespie-Jones was moved upfield.
Seaford’s defence was rock solid early under constant pressure, as Michelle Goodwin blanketed Courtney Clarkson and Bianca Jones prevented Kirsten McLeod from winning the ball close to goal. After kicking only one goal in the first term and trailing by nine points at quarter time, the Tigerettes stole the lead at halftime by a point. When Georgia Walker goaled on the run seven minutes into the second term, Seaford had three straight goals on the board from just four forward entries. By the time Olsen was taken to hospital with suspected concussion late in the second quarter, Cranbourne had lost the lead after Walker kicked her second. Cranbourne’s inability to convert their chances proved costly, trailing by a point, despite doubling Seaford’s four scoring shots.
However, in the third quarter Cranbourne’s dominance finally translated onto the scoreboard. After a first half in which she had racked up the ball but contributed only three behinds, Hayley Wildes was suddenly everywhere for the Eagles. She helped setup McLeod for her first and then a second to Clarkson that pushed Cranbourne’s lead to 13 points at last change, as the Eagles’ intensity overwhelmed Seaford.
10 minutes into the final term the contest looked over, as Shayla Marsh and Steph Brown goaled to blow the Eagles’ lead out to 25 points. The Tigerettes had other ideas though, digging deep to produce a grandstand finish with the last three goals of the game.
Seaford’s Bronwyn Rogan lit the fuse with the first of the final term for the Tigerettes, eight minutes in. When Danielle Lawrence kicked back-to-back goals in a two minute spree, it cut the gap to six points with a minute to play, and brought an upset result within their grasp. However, they were unable to break the desperate Cranbourne midfield from the bounce and the siren rang with the Eagles still clinging to that one-goal lead.
Cranbourne coach Sein Clearihan praised the tenacity of his side to overcome their player losses to win.
“Every time they got challenged, they responded,” Clearihan said. “We worked a lot better as a team, particularly when we had basically no bench from halfway through the third.”
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In other Round 5 Swisse Wellness VFL Women’s results:
- Darebin had its revenge on Melbourne Uni, reversing the Round 1 result to win the Pride & Inclusion Day match by a goal. The Falcons summoned their cool resolve to come from behind at death with Aasta O’Connor and Ebony Marinoff both starring in their first matches for the Falcons this season and Darcy Vescio kicked four goals.
- St Kilda hosted Diamond Creek at the Peanut Farm Reserve and sent the previously unbeaten ladder-leaders packing. The contest was neck-and-neck all day before the Sharks kicked three unanswered final-term goals to claim the victory by 17 points.
- The unstoppable pairing of Stacey Livingstone (six goals) and Emma King (four) saw the Eastern Devils overcome a determined Box Hill outfit and claim their second win of the season. The straight-shooting pair proved the difference as the Devils won by 20 points.
- For the first time in five years, the VU Western Spurs have finished a round on top of the ladder after they disposed of Geelong by 27 points. Alyssa Mifsud kicked three for the Spurs as they jumped Diamond Creek to become the ladder leaders after Round 5. It is the Cats’ second loss on the trot.
CLICK HERE for full Round 5 results and the updated ladder