SA hold off fast-finishing Metro

IN the second game of Friday’s AFLW Under-18 Girls Championship triple-header, the South Australia have been able to hold off a late charge from Vic Metro to claim a thrilling three-point win at Avalon Airport Oval. The two form teams of the competition locked horns in a blockbuster matchup, and for a while, it looked like it would be a bit of a blowout. South Australia got out to a big lead in the third term, and Metro looked a step behind. However, they rallied in the last term to conjure a magnificent comeback and draw within a kick with just five minutes to play. In the end, they fell just short and South Australia hang on to claim the victory in a ripping contest.

First Quarter

It was a scrappy start to the game, with Metro looking to use their signature play out of the first stoppage, which takes full advantage of the wings. With some physical play around the ball, each possession was hard fought, and there were plenty of big hits from both sides. Both sides opted to go by hand in the opening minutes, and it resulted in the ball living between the arcs. Charlotte Taylor showed her class by getting Metro on the board with the first goal of the game, but it was answered shortly after by Hannah Ewings for South Australia, with the two teams separated by just two points at the first break. Shineah Goody was everywhere in the opening term, racking up 12 touches and trying to give her side the best chance at getting the ball forward.

Second Quarter

The contested nature of the game continued into the second term, with plenty of physicality around the ground. Entries inside-50 from both sides were often either cut off or brought to ground, with a tremendous level of pressure bought from both sides. Lily Hart was terrific above her head, and pulled down a nice contested mark inside-50. Due to the hot level of play, not many scores were generated. The only goal of the term came through Ella Boag, who put South Australia up by eight points. Metro were able to get the ball inside 50, but the delivery was often wayward. The margin was reduced by two points as the siren sounded for half time.

Third Quarter

South Australia looked to attack early in the second half, locking the ball in their half, and it ended up paying off in dividends. Continuing her ripping individual outing, Goody earned a free kick deep in SA’s forward line, and kicked truly to extend the lead to 12 points. There was still plenty of heat around the contest, and extracting the footy proving to be a difficult task. Metro’s delivery to the forward line improved in the third, but SA was able to get numbers to the ball and kill the contest. Once again, Goody was the difference as she laid a strong tackle inside 50 and was rewarded with a free kick, which she converted. South Australia were not planning on stopping there, as Ella Little created something out of nothing on the goal line and got a boot to an errant Metro handball on the goal line. Rylie Wilcox was showing some fight for Metro with a big tackle in the backline, but her side was still under the pump. Metro was finally able to conjure a goal on the three quarter time siren, bringing the margin back to 17 points at the final change.

Fourth Quarter

Metro kicked off the final period in strong form, looking to build momentum off the late goal in the third. They did a good job of keeping the ball inside their half of the ground, but it was not converted into any majors. South Australia fought back to force the ball forward with their manic pressure and quick hands around the contest. Momentum went back and forth, as Metro was determined not to concede the loss, and the charge was led by its best players. Montana Ham got the ball rolling on the scoreboard, after converting from a 50-metre penalty, keeping hope alive for Victoria. She began to take over, intercepting a wayward kick in her team’s forward line, before doing the same just seconds later after missing the set shot. Mia Austin brought Metro within a kick with five minutes remaining. The final stages of the game were thrilling, as Metro pushed the ball inside-50 to try and conjure an unlikely win, but a terrific tackle from Elaine Grigg sealed a three-point win for South Australia.

In the votes

It is hard to go past Goody for South Australia when discussing the best players in the win, with a terrific performance awarding her the medal for her side’s strongest performer. As mentioned above, she had a terrific start to the game, and only continued that trend from there. In the end, she finished with 27 touches, seven tackles and a couple of goals. Ewings was also impressive with 23 disposals and a goal, while Lana Schwerdt was tough inside with 11 tackles to go with 17 touches. For Metro, Ham was outstanding, particularly in the final term when her side made a final charge. She popped up everywhere in the final 20 minutes, and did everything possible to drag her side over the line with 22 disposals, seven marks and seven tackles.

Victoria Metro 1.0 | 1.2 | 2.3 | 4.6 (30)
South Australia 1.2 | 2.2 | 5.2 | 5.3 (33)


Metro: M. Ham, C. Taylor, J. Vukic, M. Austin
SA: S. Goody 2, H. Ewings, E. Boag, E. Little


Metro: M. Ham, S. Hurley, C. Baskaran, R. Wilcox, M. Busch, L. Hart
SA: S. Goody, H. Ewings, L. Schwerdt, E. Boag, S. Syme, S. Goodwin

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