By Tegan Lafranchi
Saturday June 8th, AFL Goldfields Women’s Interleague competed against a strong Victorian Amateurs Football Association squad.
The Women started their Interleague campaign with plenty of enthusiasm, certainly knowing the VAFA girls were going to be tough to contend with. VAFA came out of the blocks flying kicking 4 unanswered goals early in the 1st term, despite this the Goldfields Women kept the pressure on at each contest forcing VAFA to be precise with every position.
VAFA had utilised every opportunity and by half time held convincing lead on the Goldfields Girls. During the half time break Peter Forbes addressed the playing group and asked them to keep attacking each contest with the vigour they have already shown, to cherish every possession, protect the ball carrier and get the ball forward when the opportunities present.
The last half didn’t disappoint, with the Goldfields girls fighting hard on the inside, making VAFA earn every possession and giving them chances to move the ball into our forward line. VAFA continued to put the score board pressure on, finishing the game as victors for the second time.
Stand out players for AFL Goldfields on the day were; Ellen Werts (Redan), Captain Abbey Bertram (Bacchus Marsh), Marilyn Elder (Gisborne), Ingrid Duffy (Redan), Hannah Beasley (Gisborne) and Robyn MacDonald (East Point Dragons). Ellen Werts also awarded best AFL Goldfields player as adjudged by the VAFA coaching staff with her dominant performance down back.
Youth Girls Interleague
Over the weekend of Saturday June 15th, AFL Goldfields U16 and U18 Youth Girls interleague sides took on tough AFL Central Victoria sides.
The Under 16 Youth Girls kicked proceedings off on the main oval at Marty Busch Reserve, and settled into the game well throughout the first quarter, keeping the pressure on their opposition both offensively and defensively. This paid dividends for the team, taking the lead into the quarter-time break.
The two teams wrestled for the lead throughout entirety of the match. While Goldfields held the lead at three-quarter-time, AFL Central Victoria were able to replicate their half-time lead to come out narrow 5-point winners at the final siren. The finish was even more nail-biting given that the ball was locked inside Goldfields’ forward 50 with 2 minutes remaining in the game. The final score was AFL Goldfields 6.3.39 defeated by AFL Central Victoria 6.8.44.
All of the girls played a fantastic game, both individually and as a team unit. Some standouts on the day were Zoe Larkins (Ballarat Swans), Paige Scott (Carisbrook), Iona Cullenward (Lake Wendouree), Charlotte Hopkins (East Point), Bethany Hucker (Lake Wendouree) and Lillee Barensden (East Point). Paige Scott also caught the eyes of the officiators on the day, with her performance earning her the Best on Ground medal adjudged by the umpires.
Iona Cullenward (2 goals), Zoe Larkins (2 goals), Bethany Hucker (1 goal) and Paige Scott (1 goal) were able to hit the scoreboard for Goldfields across the game.
“It’s an old cliché but football was the winner! The scoreboard said we finished second, but every girl in our squad walked away as winners. The experience of playing with and against such a talented group made for an amazing spectacle,’’ coach Jeromy Jones said.
He added, “considering we (AFL Goldfields) have had limited time together the playing group jelled together really well and played a high standard of football. Even though we weren’t able to walk away with the win, we were so proud of the AFL Goldfields girls.”
The Under 18 Youth Girls side took the field soon after, and weren’t to be outdone with the level of skill and excitement in their contest. From the first bounce, it was a high-pressure game, with both sides struggling to get uncontested possessions.
The high-pressure game on-field was mirrored on the scoreboard with scores level going into the first break. Goldfields managed to gain a narrow 4-point lead going into half-time, however the tug-of-war continued in the third quarter with neither side able to hit the scoreboard.
The finish was just as exciting in this contest, for players, coaches and spectators alike, with the ball locked in the forward 50 of the team behind on the scoreboard for the final few minutes.
In the end, AFL Central Victoria put out a strong fourth-quarter finish that saw them come out 7-point victors. The final score was AFL Goldfields 4.4.28 defeated by AFL Central Victoria 5.5.35.
“It was a hard fought contest until the final siren. The girls jelled very well, with some brilliant individual efforts across the board. The girls leadership throughout the team was a big highlight for me, not to mention the skill level we have at Goldfields is second to none, and was on full display,” co-coach Peter Curran commented.
Lara Beggs (North Ballarat), Jaye Dalgleish (East Point), Frances Walsh (Redan), Nicole Steward (Gisborne), Chloe Leonard (Ballarat Swans) and Abby Coon (Creswick) were some of the standouts across the field throughout the course of the match.
Mackenzie O’Neill and Jaye Dalgleish were both able to hit the scoreboard, kicking two goals each.
Despite the end result, Curran said “there are so many bright futures ahead and I as a coach, feel so privileged to be a part of such an amazing bunch of girls. I can’t be any more proud of their efforts and commitment on the day.”
Both coaching panels could not agree more that female footy in the Goldfields region, and beyond, has an incredibly bright future!