REVIEW | VFLW Round 1: A round that had it all

THE VFL Women’s competition returned over the weekend, with plenty of interesting results to kick off the season.

In the game of the round, Essendon and Box Hill played out a thrilling draw out at The Hangar.

In a match full of momentum swings, the teams ultimately could not be split at the final whistle.

The Hawks were quick out of the middle as debutant Annie Muir busted her way through multiple packs, but unfortunately for the Hawks they were unable to convert it into an inside 50.

The Bombers did eventually register the first inside 50, and after intercepting a wayward handball Maddi Wilson scored the first goal of the match.

Box Hill then responded with a goal of its own minutes later through club debutant Madeleine Boyd, and a tight contest was on the cards.

With the play very end to end and both defences holding up really strongly, scoring was at a premium.

As the first term drew to a close, the scores were dead even.

Box Hill again blitzed out of the middle and could have had the first goal of the second term inside the first 30 seconds, but the subsequent shot went wide.

However it took about seven minutes of the quarter for either side to get a major, and it was Essendon off the boot of Zoe Hurrell.

Caitlin Sargent then kicked truly and Essendon finally had a bit of a buffer to its name.

Box Hill then had several chances to respond with a major, but all shots either dropped short or went wide.

Ultimately the margin sat at 11 points at the main break, but it really was still anyone’s game.

Box Hill again got the first clearance in the third term, but again could not make it count when the shot at goal dropped short and the Bombers rebounded.

However, the Bombers were only able to make it to the wing before the Hawks intercepted, returned the ball inside their attacking 50 for multiple minutes.

The only problem for the Hawks was no matter how hard they peppered the goals, they just could not get a major on the board.

Although Essendon had a few forays into attack, most of the attacking play was done by the brown and gold despite not being able to put a major on the board.        

Just as it was looking like the third quarter was going to be completely goalless, Boyd popped up with her second for the Hawks and suddenly the margin was a single point.

Boyd’s goal was to be the last score of the quarter, so as the teams turned for home, it truly was anyone’s game.

Each side opened their scoring in the final term with a behind, but finally a goal came eight minutes in off the boot of Renee Tierney to give the Bombers a little bit more breathing space.

To rub salt into the wounds for the Hawks Aine McDonagh then went down and had to be helped from the field.

The Hawks then rallied and when Boyd kicked her third major of the afternoon, the margin was back to one.

A Mietta Kendall miss saw scores level with six minutes to go and plenty of time for either side to nab the win.

As the minutes ticked down and the final siren drew closer, the atmosphere amongst the fans sitting on the hill at the Hangar intensified, as an impending feeling of a draw began to emerge.

The seconds continued to tick down and both sides ran out of time to score even a behind, so had to settle for a draw.

The major ball winners for both sides included the Jordan Mifsud (21 touches), Nicole Garner (20 touches), Courtney Ugle (18 disposals) and Tierney (18 disposals).

In other results:

  • One game whose margin was not so close was the one between Darebin and the Southern Saints, with the Saints prevailing by 33 points.

Despite the Saints’ inaccuracy, they were far too strong for the Falcons, with the Saints’ speed out of defence and the inability of the Falcons to take a mark inside 50 really hurting the Falcons.

Jemima Wrigley, Charlotte Ryan and Margaret Kershaw all got their hands on the ball plenty of times for the Saints, while Ange Gogos was everywhere for the Falcons and Simone Ruedin was really strong in defence for the home side.

Alyssa Mifsud was the only multiple goal kicker on the ground, with all of the Saints goals coming from single goal kickers.

  • One game that was a lot closer than many may have expected was in Ballarat yesterday, with Casey defeating the Western Bulldogs by 14 points.

The margin was only four points at the final change, but the Bulldogs stopped scoring and Casey did not, hence the result.

Casey’s top scorer came from an unlikely source, with Irish star Sinead Goldrick popping up to score two majors. Meanwhile for the Bulldogs Mali McLeod booted three goals for her side.

The major ball winners for both sides included Shelley Heath (23 disposals), Goldrick (21 touches), Tahlia Meier (28 disposals) and Sarah Skinner (23 disposals).

  • Carlton got its season off to a perfect start with a solid 24 point win over Port Melbourne.

A three goal to none first quarter set the tone for the match, and despite both having a goalless quarter each during the match, Port’s attacking chances were restricted more, allowing the home side to take the win.

Four of the top five ball winners on the ground were Blues, namely Christina Bernardi, Amelia Klingbeil, Madeleine Di Cosmo and Paige Trudgeon, while the lone Port player in the top five was Olivia Barton.

  • North Melbourne caused a bit of an upset, beating Geelong by nine points down on the road.

After a low scoring first half, North ultimately lead at every break to come home with the win.

Four of the top five ball winners on the ground were Roos, including the likes of Marianna Anthony and Annabel Scott, while Poppy Schaap was the key ball winner for the Cats.

Meanwhile Felicity Theodore and Charlotte Simpson each kicked a pair of majors for their side.

  • Collingwood also got its season off to the perfect start with a 15 point win over Williamstown.

Williamstown capitalised on the wind early and jumped out to an early lead, before the Magpies reeled them back in and went on to win.

New Pie Jessica Bates topped the disposals tally for her side with 25, while Sharnie Whiting did the same for the Seagulls with a round high 31 touches.

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