Port pinch premiership in nail-biting grand final

PORT Melbourne has claimed the 2023 VFLW premiership, defeating Collingwood by 12 points in a thrilling decider.

In conditions that were less than ideal, the Borough outlasted a valiant Magpies outfit that led at various stages of the match, including in the final term. However, Port Melbourne rallied in the fourth, locking the ball in its half in the last 10 minutes of the game, kicking the final goal with just seconds on the clock to seal a two-goal winner and snag the ultimate prize.

Lauren Caruso was named best afield for the premiers, producing a tough performance to help the Borough get the advantage at the coalface.

Collingwood 3.5 (23) def. by Port Melbourne 5.5 (35)

The first quarter saw Collingwood kick the first goal in the opening couple of minutes of the game, with Caitlin Sargent getting on the end of an excellent start from the Magpies. However, as the term rolled on Port Melbourne took control of the match. defying windy conditions to get first hands on the ball and push the ball into their 50, putting scoreboard pressure on and taking the lead through majors to Georgia Alomes and Courteney Bromage and leading by eight at quarter time.

The second quarter was tightly contested, with congestion dominating the game and neither side able to get any fluid ball movement forward. The deadlock was broken at the 12 minute mark, with Federica Frew extending Port Melbourne’s lead to 14 points. The Magpies began to hit back in the final five minutes of the term, surging the ball forward and although inaccuracy cost them from doing too much damage, they did bring the margin back to four points thanks to a lively spell from Evangelia Nikolitsis.

She continued to impact the game after half time, giving Collingwood its first lead since the first quarter thanks to her second major of the day. At this stage, it was game on, with the contest looking extremely even around the ground, and hard tackles being rewarded for both sides. Frew booted her second to give the Borough the scoreboard advantage once again, up by four points heading into the final term.

The fourth quarter continued to proving gripping, with Collingwood looking to regain the lead in the opening minutes with some frantic pressure around the ground, but it was not enough, resulting in just a single behind. The Borough lifted and produced plenty of scoring shots in the final 10 minutes of the game, and Collingwood’s defence could not clear the ball. Beth Wilson sealed the flag for Port Melbourne with a towering mark on the goal line with just seconds to go, slotting the easiest of goals and giving the Borough sheer delight.

Caruso was a massive influence on the game, producing a tough performance on the big stage to finish with a team-high 22 touches and a whopping 11 tackles. Port Melbourne’s tackling was a key part of its success, with Kaitlyn O’Keefe (14), Isobel Hartog (12) and Courteney Bromage (10) all providing plenty of pressure around the ground.

For the Pies, star Jessica Bates led from the front in a near match-winning performance, finding plenty of the ball and applying a lot of pressure on the opposition. She finished the contest with 27 disposals, seven marks and 10 tackles, while Nikolitsis’ two goals gave Collingwood a great spark.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments