A DOMINANT seven goals to one first half saw Pennant Hills Demons bounce back with a vital win against fellow mid-table side UNSW-ES Bulldogs by 60 points in the AFL Sydney Women’s Premier Division. The Demons looked far too good in the first half, and kept the Bulldogs to just two behinds after quarter time to run out 10.8 (68) to 1.2 (8) winners.
The match was a very important game in the context of the season. Both teams were coming off several games in a row of being stifled offensively, with Pennant Hills in particular not able to really trouble the scorers, for three straight weeks. That run would end on Saturday at Greenway Park as all 21 Demons came to play.
The first centre contest set the tone, with a tough and tight spillage contest before Matilda Friend broke away only for her kick to be intercepted by Kaitlin Quinlan. It was Pennant Hills’ turn to attack with Rebecca Ives putting pressure on the opposition defence. Each time the Bulldogs would try to clear the defensive 50, the Demon players pumped it back in, with Tayla Duguid freed up from recent defensive roles to find some pace.
Brianna Wade then chased down the ball and dished out the handball to Eliza McDonald who slotted through the first goal of the day. Duguid again won the ball from the stoppage and with Laura Donohoe looking dangerous, the home team was switched on.
The Dogs then had a nice period of forcing the ball forward, with Hayley Stanford in everything. New Demons inclusion Meagan MacDonald was finding the ball and putting it forward, and the side was finding link-up handballs out of the back 50.
The theme for the day had emerged, that Pennant Hills was going to pressure the Dogs the way the Demons had been pressured over the last month. A perfect example was Eliza Harvey producing off a staggering athletic chase down holding the ball tackle.
Pennant Hills continued to attack and Hayley Lowe finished off with a goal after some nice play down the field from Harvey. Donohue and Wade were busy inside 50 as the Demons went hard and set up the win with seven goals in the first half to the Dogs’ one. Willow Smith found rare space to convert UNSW-ES’ sole major but the momentum remained with the Demons.
Pennant Hills would continue to apply pressure throughout the remainder of the contest, and though the Bulldogs managed to lock down the Demons in the second half and contain them to three goals, it would not be enough. The home side’s defensive intensity that included blocks, smothers and pressure acts were the difference to take home the four points.
Donohoe was named best on ground for her performance, while Harvey, Lowe (three goals) and Duguid were also impressive. McDonald and Wade converted two majors apiece. For the Bulldogs, Stanford tried hard, while Anna Pellen and Monique McGlynn also impressed the coaches.
AROUND THE GROUNDS
East Coast Eagles reaffirmed themselves as the team to beat with a 41-point win over UTS Bats in the battle of the two undefeated sides. The Eagles had their toughest challenge to-date, but three goals in each of the first and last quarters proved the difference in the 8.3 (51) to 1.4 (10) victory. Teagan Germech was named best on ground for the Eagles and Caitlin Reid was one of three players to slot two majors. April Devine was the Bats’ sole goalkicker, while Danika Spamer was named her team’s best.
Macquarie University Goannas proved too good for North Shore Bombers to maintain their fourth spot on the ladder thanks to a 21-point win. Though it was a tight tussle early, the Goannas kept plugging away and restricted the Bombers to just one goal after quarter time and recorded a 5.6 (36) to 2.3 (15) victory. Sophie Kavanagh had a day out with four majors, while Caitlin Fletcher was named best on ground. Olivia Edwards kicked a goal and stood out for the Bombers in defeat.
Unfortunately only three matches went ahead as Southern Power had to forfeit their clash with Manly Warringah Wolves. As the game did not go ahead, the score was determined as 52-0 and the Wolves took the four points home.