VIC Metro has made it two from two in the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, after backing up their defeat of Vic Country with a narrow eight-point win over Western Australia. In a seesawing contest, the Black Swans made Metro work hard for the victory. Eastern Ranges midfielder, Mikala Cann and Northern Knights Best and Fairest winner, Gabby Newton were some of Metro’s shining lights but they had to contend hard against the likes of Kate Bartlett and McKenzie Dowrick, who fought hard during the game for Western Australia.
The West Australian piled the pressure on the Victorians with manic tackling and exciting running. It was then counteracted by some quick transition football from Metro, which started with a burst of acceleration from Madison Prespakis on the boundary line. Once it got forward, it took the quick thinking of Georgia Macpherson to snap it through the middle for Metro’s first goal of the day, evening out the contest early in the piece. It seemed that Vic Metro was keeping an eye on the FIFA World Cup, as a header landed in the hands of Daisy Bateman in the goal square, which opened up a seven-point lead late in the first term. Then right on the siren, Northern Knights utility, Britney Gutknecht kicked a major to help Metro to a 3.2 (20) to 1.1 (7) buffer at quarter time.
The second quarter started similarly to the first, as Western Australia again opened up the goal kicking. This was thanks to AFLW Academy member, Sabreena Duffy composing herself while running into goal and banging it through, edging the Black Swans within six points of the lead. Moments later, the Black Swans got what they wanted, as a 50 metre penalty to McKenzie Dowrick provided the perfect platform for Bartlett to take a fantastic contested mark in the goal square. Making no mistake, Bartlett slotted through her fourth goal of the carnival, and simultaneously gave her side a two-point lead with five minutes to go before half time. Before they had a chance to continue to hunt Metro down, the Victorians bounced back with two goals, courtesy of Eastern Ranges forward, Gabriella De Angelis and Oakleigh Chargers gun, Bateman.Both goals came in similar fashion, as the players outlasted the pressure and had quick instincts to snap the ball out of a contest. In a true goal for goal contest, Roxanne Roux cut back Metro’s lead to four points thanks to a goal after the siren. This still meant Vic Metro had a 5.2 (32) to 4.4 (28) lead, but they would have liked to keep their 10-point margin that they had opened up not long before.
In the third quarter, the tempo slowed, as both teams upped the anti with pressure all over the ground. It took 11 minutes for the first goal of the quarter to be scored, which was courtesy of Metro, who began to take the upper hand in the seesawing contest. It took a brilliant burst of speed from Eastern Ranges co-captain, Emerson Woods down the ground to create a forward play for Metro, which ended up in the hands of Cleo Saxon-Jones, who led brilliantly to the ball inside 50. The Western Jets ruck/forward booted it through to give Metro a 13-point lead. In quick succession, Newton got involved up forward, missing a shot at goal then following it up with a mark off a turnover inside 50. She made no mistake on her second chance, extending her side’s lead to 19 points. Western Australia again had an opportunity to reduce the deficit after the siren, but this time, it was a miss from Sonia Dorizzi, leaving Metro with a 7.5 (47) to 4.5 (29) lead heading into the final term.
The Black Swans immediately made amends for the miss after the three quarter time siren, with Bartlett running in for her second goal of the day in the opening minute of the last term. Inaccuracy hurt Metro in the last quarter, kicking five behinds and no majors in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, Western Australia was able to get another goal on the board late in the piece, with Mikayla Hyde running into goal from close range. However, the late fightback wasn’t enough as Vic Metro came out with a hard-fought 7.9 (51) to 6.7 (43) win. Matilda Sergeant, Rikkiesha Carling and Mikayla Bowenwere among the best with the McKenzie Dowrick and Bartlett who stood out, while Roux was terrific around the ground. For Metro, Abbie McKay and Katie Lynch were also among the best in what was a strong performance.
VIC METRO: 3.2 | 5.2 | 7.5 | 7.9 (51)
WESTERN AUSTRALIA: 1.1 | 4.4 | 4.5 | 6.7 (43)
VIC METRO: Daisy Bateman 2,Gabby Newton 2, Georgia Macpherson, Britney Gutknecht, Cleo Saxon-Jones.
WESTERN AUSTRALIA: Kate Bartlett 2, Mikayla Hyde, Taneisha Anderson, Sabreena Duffy, Roxanne Roux
VIC METRO: Mikala Cann, Gabby Newton, Madison Prespakis, Abbie McKay, Katie Lynch, Georgia Patrikios
WESTERN AUSTRALIA: McKenzie Dowrick, Kate Bartlett, Matilda Sergeant, Rikkiesha Carling, Mikayla Bowen, Roxanne Roux