The VFLW box of surprises keeps delivering

IN a season that has already delivered plenty of surprises, the VFL Women’s competition kept the surprises coming over the weekend. Also, with only two wins separating over half the teams on the ladder at the moment, the weekend’s results have made this season’s finalists no less set.

The surprises began out at Trevor Barker Oval on Saturday morning when North Melbourne upset the previously ladder leading Southern Saints by four goals. The more highly fancied Saints struggled to at times contain both the wind and a determined North Melbourne defence, as the Kangaroos made better use of the wind to come away with an important win.

In the opening term the Kangaroos were very quick out of the blocks, and were inside their attacking 50 within 10 seconds of the match beginning. They were unable to even get a shot on goal though as the Saints quickly repelled and got the ball back out of their defensive 50.

They could not get far out of their defensive 50 though, as the Kangaroos returned it inside the forward 50 rather quickly. The Kangaroos did eventually get some reward for their early territory dominance when Zara Flanigan converted from directly in front to give North Melbourne its and the game’s first score.

Even after the restart the Roos were quick to get the ball back and into their attacking half, but the Saints defenders were certainly not making getting a shot away easy. However, in what were very windy conditions down in Sandringham, the Saints really struggled to get it past the halfway point heading towards attack even when they did have the ball.

North found a second goal for the quarter in the final minute of the term via Marli Klaumanns-Moller and ultimately took a 15-point lead into the first break after keeping the Saints scoreless for the term.

It was the Saints were quick inside their forward 50 in the second term, using the aid of the wind to be already shooting for goal inside the opening 30 seconds of the term. They ultimately did not get a goal from their early possession dominance, but they still got a score.

Scoring proved difficult for both sides for much of the second term as the North defence held strong but it struggled to navigate the wind in transition. It took over 10 minutes, but eventually the Saints did get theirs and the quarter’s first goal on the board via the boot of Margaret Kershaw.

The Kangaroos did eventually break through the wind barrier though and eventually countered with a goal from Kiara Delia to take the margin back out to 14 points. Delia’s goal proved to be the final one for the quarter, so the Kangaroos took a lead of just over two goals into the main break.

The Kangaroos were quick out of the blocks, with Audrey Rhodes snapping a major inside the opening 40 seconds of the term. North Melbourne continued to dominate territory and possession for much of the quarter, but could not get the scoreboard reward for it.

The Roos finally got a second goal for the term on the board 11 minutes through Maggie Sutcliffe, but it proved to also be their last for the term. Luckily for the Roos the Saints also did not score a goal for the rest of the quarter, and as such North Melbourne’s lead was now 25 points at the final change.

As conditions continued to be windy in the last quarter, scoring became harder and harder for both sides. One behind to the Saints was all that either side could manage to put on the board in the final 20 minutes, which saw the Kangaroos end up with a comfortable win.

In other results:

  • With the Saints losing Port Melbourne were able to jump to the top of the table with a solid 41-point win over Darebin in the sole Sunday clash.

The Borough slowly but surely built into their win, but really accelerated in the third term to put the result really out of the Falcons’ reach.

Nayeley Borg (three goals) and Emily Harley (two goals) were the main goal kickers for Port Melbourne, while Alyssa Mifsud and Shannon Egan were Darebin’s two goal kickers. Angelica Gogos (23 touches) and Jessie Williams (21 touches) also saw plenty of the ball for their respective sides.

  • Williamstown moved into the top six with a solid 25-point win over the Western Bulldogs.

Although the Bulldogs were a point ahead at half-time, the Seagulls really dialled it up in the second half, kicking three goals to none in the third quarter to open up the game and take the win.

Sharnie Whiting kicked two majors to help steer the Seagulls to victory, while Jasmine Kawa (19 touches) and Eleanor Bishop (15 touches) led the disposal count for their respective sides.

  • Carlton picked up a crucial win in the context of their season with an eight-point win over Collingwood.

Collingwood got the better start to the game, but could not make the most of the wind in the third term, as the Blues then came from behind to take the win.

Georgia Tait was the sole multiple goal kicker on the ground, with two goals to her name, while Jessica Bates continued to rack up the touches, this time finishing with 26 disposals.

  • Essendon took a big step towards securing a place in the finals while denting Casey’s chances after the Bombers defeated the Dees by five points.

Casey staged quite the final quarter come back and almost pulled off the come from behind win, but the Bombers held on for the important win.

Olivia Manfre booted half of Essendon’s goals in the win, while Shannon Danckert led both the Dees’ and the match’s disposal tally with 25 touches to her name.

  • There was another thriller, this time in Geelong as the Cats and Hawks played out a draw.

The Hawks got the jump early before the Cats slowly but surely worked their way back into the game, but could not complete the comeback as scoring dried up in the last quarter.

Both Jade Wise and Breanna Pratt kicked two majors for their respective sides, while Jordan Mifsud (25 touches) and Cheryl De Groot (20 touches) both saw plenty of the ball.

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