Tallariti stands tall as Chargers claim flag

AN INSPIRATIONAL performance from Sienna Tallariti helped Oakleigh Chargers win their second flag in three seasons, declared Coates Talent League Girls premiers over Eastern Ranges, 6.7 (43) to 5.6 (36). In a see-sawing contest that looked to be safely in Oakleigh’s hands at the final break, the Ranges had one last push in the final term before a costly 50m penalty allowed the Chargers to kick clear and secure the seven-point win.

It came as no surprise that Tallariti – a talented bottom-age defender – earned the Best on Ground Medal for her incredible 32 disposals, 12 marks, five tackles and six rebound 50s. The game was neck-and-neck for the most part, and Tallariti was steadfast in defence.

The entire Oakleigh Chargers organisation celebrates the premiership | Image credit: Rookie Me Central

It was Eastern who got on the board first though through Emma Stilve snapping through a major, before Jacinta Baxter got involved up the Royal Parade end, setting up Mikayla Lee for the Chargers’ opener, before winning a free kick and nailing the set shot goal from close range.

At quarter time, the Chargers lead by seven points despite the best efforts of Eastern star Laura Stone who racked up a ridiculous 14 disposals in the opening term. The tide would turn back in Eastern’s favour as Alyssia Pisano – who had a great battle with Charlotte Brewer throughout the day – kicked truly to put her side in front.

Defender Grace Baba also got forward to have a rare chance on goal but missed, and when everything was said and done, the sides were as they started, even. Tallariti had 16 disposals, catching up to Stone (17), while respective captains Lara Hausegger and Ava Campbell were propelling forward forays.

The premiership quarter lived up to its name, with Oakleigh putting the foot down. Top-age winger Amy Cariss-Brett set up Amelie Gladman for the first, and then Alessia Dunn and Lily Hart both found space to convert majors. A miss to Stilve up the other end hurt the Ranges, as the Chargers dominated the quarter to blow the lead out to 18 points at the final change.

Eastern Ranges were always going to keep coming, and though she had been relatively well-held to the final break, Pisano got off the chain in a blistering five minutes, kicking two goals and missing another as she threatened to steal the game from under Oakleigh’s nose.

Nerves had crept in for the Chargers as the normally deadeye Maiya Stobie missed a shot – hitting the post – she would normally gobble up running into goal – and when Pisano kicked her second at the 12-minute mark, the score was back to an even six points.

Over-age ruck/forward Emily Tassiopoulos had a rare chance up the other end but her quick snap faded to the right and was rushed across by Campbell, though it proved a handy point. It would not be the last involvement for Tassiopoulos, who won the ball about 65m out from goal with three minutes remaining.

She went to play on, but before the umpire had officially called played on, opponent Mackenzie Bourne started to take off and the whistle blew, awarding a 50m. Well within range, Tassiopoulos followed in the footsteps of fellow tall Krystal Russell in kicking the winning goal in the grand final.

Bourne would go back and kick one herself on the siren, but the only celebration came from her opponents as the Chargers stormed the field to enjoy the seven-point win. It had been quite the battle, but Oakleigh had survived and were crowned premiers.

Tallariti and Hausegger lead the defence, with Brewer and Lucy Cronin also rock solid. Cariss-Brett provided run through the middle, while the likes of Lee, Sarah Poustie and Abbey Vicino also impressed in an even team effort.

Stone (30 disposals, three marks, five tackles, five clearances, six inside 50s and two rebound 50s) was the star for the ranges, while Baba shone with an aggressive second half, totalling up 23 disposals, four marks, two clearances, three inside 50s and four rebound 50s. Georgia Stubs and Indigo Linde were important in midfield, while Campbell tried hard in defence.

Sienna Tallariti won Best on Ground following an incredible display in defence | Image credit: Rookie Me Central

EASTERN RANGES 1.2 | 2.4 | 2.5 | 5.6 (36)
OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 2.3 | 2.4 | 5.5 | 6.7 (43)

A. Pisano 3, E. Stilve, M. Bourne
Oakleigh: M Lee, J. Baxter, A. Gladman. A. Dunn, L. Hart, E. Tassiopoulos

L. Stone, G. Baba, A. Campbell, A. Pisano, G. Stubs
Oakleigh: S. Tallariti, L. Hausegger, A. Cariss-Brett, C. Brewer, M. Lee

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