• Jayden J Bartlett

2021 Women's Association Match Recap

History-Making Saturday: the Great Southern Women claimed their third consecutive Association Game victory after defeating Southern by 49 points at Strathalbyn.

Making it three from three: the Great Southern Women’s side had to overcome a slow start before they were able to break away from a relentless Southern outfit during the second half with seven goals to claim the 11.7 (73) to 4.0 (24) win.

Goolwa and GSFLW Association Captain, Rachel Searle, received the Grant Levy Medal as the Best on Ground for the Great Southern.

The Belinda Howden Medal went to Flagstaff Hill’s Emily Brockhurst who, along with her father Andrew Brockhurst, made history as the first-ever father-daughter pair to earn SFL Association Best on Ground medals.

Remarkably, in 2018 Jaime Jai made history during the inaugural Association Women’s Game as she, along with her brother Michael Galley, became the first sister-brother pair to win Best on Ground medals for the SFL.

An overcast day set the stage for the third instalment of the Association Women's Match, with the earlier match between the GSFLW and SFLW U17 Girls ending in a decisive victory for the Great Southern, 10.6 (66) to 4.1 (25).

Following the first bounce, it looked as if the GSFLW were quickly heading towards kicking the opening goal within just the first minute of play. But as would be the theme for the majority of the opening term, the SFLW defence remained firm.

After five minutes of valiant defending by the SFLW, some great forward pressure by the GSFLW allowed Sheena Peters the first good look at goal--but her kick just clipped the post.

This valiant defending would prove dividends for the SFLW because, after defending for the majority of the first quarter, a rare attack inside 50 resulted in the first goal of the game which came courtesy of Brockhurst.

This goal, which came eleven minutes into the opening term, also handed the SFLW a 0.3 (3) to 1.0 (6) lead at the fast break.

However, despite the lack of a strong breeze the Southern End proved to be the scoring end, a fact that the Great Southern would display this during the second term.

Three minutes in, Layla Rogers quickly crumbed and snapped the Great Southern's first goal of the day to retake the lead. This goal then opened the flood gates for the GSFLW as just two minutes later, Katrina Munzberg kicked truly on the run to extend their lead to nine points.

Continuing the highlight reel for the McLaren players was Caitlin Ross, whose chase down tackle at half-forward prevented a dangerous-looking SFLW rebound.

This chase down tackle proved crucial for the GSFLW because, within the next minute, Asha Bell was able to collect the bouncing footy, steady, and hit up Peters who went back and drilled her first goal of the day from 30m out.

At this stage, the SFLW desperately needed a steadying goal, and they found it in the form of the Christies Beach prospect, Indi Flynn, whose drop punt from deep in the pocket snuck in for a major score.

From a steadying goal to a Captain's contribution, Rogers was able to quickly clear from a stoppage and help propel the ball forwards to the waiting Searle, who was able to out body her opponent and kick a Captain's goal within the final minute.

This goal handed the GSFLW a promising lead at halftime, 4.5 (29) to 2.0 (12). But there was still plenty left to do before the GSFLW could claim the win, and they would have to do it without their full-forward, Peters, who left the ground with a dislocated finger.

The SFLW pushed for the opening goal of the third term within the first minute, but Courtney Mesecke was able to cut it off at half-back.

Taking a leaf from her book, Reynella young gun Ella Besley returned the favour minutes later by intercepting a GSFLW kick out of defence before making them pay by sending it back over the defenders' heads for a major score.

But this was not the turning point that the SFLW had hoped for as, just two minutes later, a string of McLaren handpasses was enough to give Ally Bailey space to quickly snap a reply for the GSFLW.

Rogers then followed up just sixty seconds later with a half-volley goal which doubled as a contender for Goal of the Day. Not to be outdone, Ross made her case for the Goal of the Day when she struck from the boundary on the run with an almost majestic swinging kick.

Despite the fact that the scores were coming from the GSFLW, the SFLW were not without their impressive players as Renee Wurfel, Chloe Meyers and exciting young gun, Bridie Nye, continued to be key contributors for the Southern.

But continuing on with this late surge brought on by the Rogers-Ross duo was Morgan Tucker, who thought quickly and acted even quicker with a clever kick off the deck for her first goal of the day.

With the game looking all but over at this point for the SFLW, Brockhurst, the Howden Medallist, took the matter into her own hands with a thumping kick out of the defensive 50. This kick saw Southern go end to end with pace and it was finished off perfectly with an eye-catching goal from Emily Woods.

The SFLW pushed for one more late goal but Kristen Rothwell stopped them dead in their tracks with a crunching tackle; which meant the scores remained at 8.6 (54) to 4.0 (24) when the three quarter time siren rung.

Making the game even more memorable from a GSFLW perspective was Rogers, who got things going during the final term with her third goal of the day.

Things went from bad to worse for the SFLW as they lost the fast-paced Christies Beach product, Emma Crisp, to a suspected knee injury. This Saints' injury was a sour moment in an otherwise sweet exhibition of local women's footy and we wish Emma all the best.

Continuing to run out the match in fine form was Rogers, who managed to get her kick away despite the pressure around her which just snuck past the post for her fourth major of the match.

Despite the match entering its final minutes, both the sides continued to go in hard; which was perhaps typified by Katrice Turner and her courageous collision with Woods on the wing. Luckily, both of the tough souls came out of it relatively unscathed.

Then in the dying minute, Ross finished off the 2021 Association Match with a great goal that also handed the GSFLW an impressive 11.7 (73) to 4.0 (24) win.

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All photos have been taken by MWM.

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