WA hold on in thriller to down Allies
WHAT a way to get your first win of the tournament. Avalon Airport Oval held a triple-header in the AFLW Under 18 Girls Championships on Friday, and the action kicked off with the Allies taking on Western Australia, after a change to the initial fixture. It was a cracking contest, with the two teams leaving nothing on the field after four quarters of hard fought footy. The Allies looked likely to claim the victory after taking a seven-point lead with just 10 minutes remaining. However, Western Australia rallied to close out the game, and when Tamashya Blurton put them in front with three minutes to play, it looked as if the Allies would struggle to conjure an answer. In dramatic fashion, Madison Brazendale had a chance to win it for the Allies after the siren, but her shot was wayward, and WA emerged with their first win of the tournament to the tune of five points.
Things didn’t kick off in a great way for WA in the opening minutes, with Megan Bain injured in a big clash at centre half back. Thankfully, she was able to return to play shortly after, and her side got on top after withstanding a number of inside-50s from the Allies. Both sides looked at their best when using the corridor, as it resulted in some fast play and quick inside-50’s. The forward pressure from WA saw the ball locked in their forward-50. Although it took them a while to put the ball through the big sticks, they were finally able to register a major through Ella Roberts, who converted the set shot after a nice overhead mark. They were able to back it up a few minutes later, using the run generated by their backline as Alessia Schmiedgen conjured a quick snap out of the pack which bounced through. The two-goal lead was set up by WA bringing some serious heat around the contest, but the Allies were able to bite back fast. Claire Ransom got on the right end of a 50-metre penalty and took advantage of the open goal square to register her side’s first six-pointer of the day. With quarter-time approaching, Rookie Me Central medalist Zarlie Goldsworthy conjured a brilliant banana to tie up proceedings at the first break.
The second term started with Roberts well amongst the action early, as the WA gun looked busy in the opening minutes. It was reflective of her side, with Western Australia grabbing control of the contest in the first few minutes of play. Their ability to hit targets by foot resulted in some nice passages of play, but they couldn’t capitalise on the scoreboard. The Allies wrestled back momentum shortly after and kicked the next two goals of the game through Cassie McWilliams and Grace Whittaker. Once again, it was Roberts who was able to turn things around for WA, bursting through a pack inside-50 to draw her side within one goal at half time.
As was the case with the previous term, WA quickly looked to lock the ball in their half of the ground. On a number of occassions, Western Australia players remained unmanned ahead of the ball, but were not found by teammates. It was a low-scoring term in comparision to the first half, with the Allies unable to register a major for the entirety of the quarter, while WA only got one themselves. It was a cracking goal, set up by Tara Stribley, who dished the ball over to Blurton, who snapped truly. Things were tied up heading into the final term, setting up a blockbuster finish.
It didn’t get any less tense in the final period of play, with the lead going back and forth throughout the final 20 minutes. After WA kicked the first to take the lead in the first few minutes, but the Allies answered shortly after. Remarkably they took a seven-point lead thanks to a kick out of mid air on the goal line from J’Noemi Anderson, which gave her side a potential match-winning lead. However, Western Australia got themselves back within a point shortly after, and suddenly momentum was on their side. The pressure ended up getting to the Allies, who conceded a 50-metre penalty and gifted WA the lead through Blurton. With just three minutes on the clock, the Allies had a chance to steal back the lead, and no opportunities were better than Brazendale’s set shot after the siren. Unfortunately for her side, the kick was short, and Western Australia emerged winners.
In the votes
As expected, Roberts was named best afield with a terrific performance. She was able to chip in across the ground, with some remarkable work ahead of the ball matched by a few big defensive efforts. In the end, she finished with a game-high 21 touches and two goals. Also amongst the action was Alli Nokes with 20 disposals, while Blurton’s three goals proved crucial. For the Allies, Zara Hamilton led the disposal count with 20, while her namesake in Cynthia Hamilton was very impressive with 19 touches and nine tackles.
Allies 2.1 | 4.1 | 4.4 | 6.5 (41)
Western Australia 2.1 | 3.1 | 4.4 | 7.4 (46)
Allies: Goldsworthy, Anderson, Ransom, McWilliams, Whittaker, Campbell
WA: Blurton 3, Roberts 2, Thompson, Schmiedgen
Allies: C. Hamilton, Z. Hamilton, Goldsworthy, Barwick, Anderson, Ransom
WA: Roberts, Nokes, Blurton, Elkington, Wakfer, Henry