2020 GSFLW Open Women's Grand Final - Match Report
Updated: Sep 14, 2020
Goal Kickers: B. Nye
Best Players: C. Perryman, E. Radbone, C. Radbone, K. Robinson, B. Brinkworth
Goal Kickers: S. Fuller 5, B. Wyld, K. Nijhuis, L. Rogers
Best Players: S. Fuller, L. Rogers, K. Whish, J. Veasey, T. Buethke, E. Goldsmith
McLaren claim the 2020 GSFLW Open Women’s Premiership following a fifty-point victory over Willunga at Encounter Bay Oval.
Playing in their third Grand Final in as many years, the Eagles booted seven, second-half goals, that went unanswered, while on their way to the drought-breaking 8.8 (56) to 1.0 (6) win.
But despite the one-sided final score, the opening term was a far-cry from the eventual result as it was difficult to split the two sides.
The Demons, who had ended McLaren’s undefeated streak just two weeks prior, managed to hold McLaren goalless during the opening term, despite the Eagles starting with the strong breeze.
Although the Eagles did come close on several occasions to open the scoring during the first term. In fact, right from the opening bounce, Layla Rogers was able to clear and send the ball into attack for the Eagles — but Willunga’s defence was able to hold steady.
Then, after just three minutes of play, the Eagles got their first clear shot at goal, following a nice set up by Kelli Nijhuis, to the eventual Best on Ground, Sally Fuller. However, Fuller would just miss — but this would be something that she would rarely do again for the remainder of the match.
Despite having plenty of the play, the Eagles would struggle to use the wind advantage, and would instead find the ball trapped on the wing for most of the quarter. That was until an interception by Katrice Turner allowed the Demons their first chance to attack deep into their own forward 50.
But Willunga’s first attack was thwarted rather quickly, and Nijhuis was able to run the ball along the wing, as the Eagles rebounded out of defence. She would eventually hit up Tahlita Buethke, whose kick would be carried across the face of goal by the wind, for their second behind of the match, at the eleventh minute mark.
The Eagles would continue to put the Demons under pressure, thanks to their repeated inside 50s — but Willunga was able to find some relief thanks to a late interception by Kristen Rothwell.
However, her kick in-turn would be intercepted by Buethke, but the siren would go before any damage could be done.
Credit must go to the Demon’s defence as, after being put under immense pressure early, the side only trailed 0.0 (0) to 0.2 (2) at the first change.
It was Willunga’s defence that stepped up again within the opening minute of the second term, as Caitlin Radbone rebounded out of defence with her signature pace.
With Willunga now enjoying the strong wind advantage — it was McLaren’s turn to defend against repeated attacks. However, the Demons struggled to get it past half-forward, on a part thanks to Tiffany Copley’s tendency to intercept kicks at half back.
And it was one of these interceptions that allowed the Eagles to rebound, and, thanks to a Buethke run along the wing, they found the ball deep in their forward 50. However, McLaren still struggled to find the goals — as they kicked their third behind of the match at the third minute mark.
This early inaccuracy left the door open for the Demons, and after a goal-saving smother by Rothwell — Willunga rebounded and, just seconds later, Bride Nye kicked truly to score the opening goal of the Grand Final.
After having most of play, the Eagles found themselves trailing — but came close to retaking the lead almost straight away but, once again, they only managed a behind. It wasn’t until the tenth minute mark that the Eagles scored their first of the day, courtesy of Brittnie Wyld.
With this late momentum, McLaren then pushed for another late goal — and would have scored again if it wasn’t for a goal-saving mark by Ella Radbone, and a goal-saving tackle moments later by Rothwell.
But the Eagles still entered halftime with a narrow 1.4 (10) to 1.0 (6) lead.
The third term saw the Eagles once again kick with the breeze, and just two minutes into the quarter Fuller kicked a goal out of a pack to put the Eagles lead to double digits. She nearly followed up with another goal at the fifth minute mark but fumbled the ball over the line.
However, following this behind — Nijhuis was able to intercept the kick in, and go back and boot her first goal of the match.
With all the momentum, the Eagles kept pushing but the Demons were able to steady, thanks to an interception by young defender, Carli Perryman. But this steadier was short-lived, as just a minute later Fuller would take a strong, overhead mark before kicking truly to push the lead to just under four goals.
Willunga would look to score against the tide of play, but after getting the ball deep into their forward 50 — the Eagles would rebound and eventually find Fuller, who would stroll into an open goal.
To make matters worse for the Demons, they would lose a player to injury during the final minute of the third term.
With a 5.4 (34) to 1.0 (6) lead and getting plenty of first looks at the ball thanks to Jessica Veasey —McLaren continued to run away with the match during the final term, booting two points in just the opening minute.
It wouldn’t be until the fourth minute mark of the final term that Rogers would join the goalkickers list with the first of the game — then just a minute later she would combine with Copley to help prevent a Demons goal at the other end of the ground.
This Rogers and Copley inspired rebound would eventually allow Buethke to hit up Fuller for her fourth goal of the match. Then just two minutes later, Nijhuis would take on her opponent before kicking deep into attack — which would then be plucked out of the air by Fuller and finished off for her fifth goal of the day.
The final highlight of the match would come via Turner — whose strong pack mark on the wing prevented any late Eagle goals, and the siren would sound to hand McLaren the 8.8 (56) to 1.1 (6) win and the 2020 GSFLW Open Women’s Premiership.
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