Day two of the AFL Youth Girls Championships can only be described as a day of firsts: the first win of the tournament for the Thunder Devils and the first time Queensland would qualify for the Pool A Grand Final.
A slightly warmer day than yesterday greeted The Woomeras and Thunder Devils as they started proceedings in thrilling style.
|Image provided by NT Thunder FC.|
Despite the first two goals of the match and holding a four point lead at the main break, the indigenous girls couldn’t grab the win, with the combined NT-Tasmanian side taking the advantage with a two-goals-to-one third term to hang on for an eventual five-point win.
Tayla Thorton (NT) continued her good championships form for The Woomeras with two goals, while Kathleen Prosser (QLD) also chipped in for a couple.
For the winners, Latrobe’s Zoe Knight topped the goal scoring with three, while St Mary’s Danielle Ponter was best on ground.
Thunder Devils co-coach, Andy Smith, said he was really happy with how the girls responded after yesterday’s heavy loss to South Australia.
“We sort of took our leadership group aside and had some honest conversations,” Smith told Girls Play Footy.
“Very disappointed with the output on the first day, given what they produced in Canberra the year before. We challenged them to respond and they were sensational.
“The body language and the attack on the ball in the first five minutes was fantastic, and that was the sort of level maintained throughout the game and what’s required to play at this level.”
The second game of the day was the Victorian derby, Metro v Country, and the girls from the big city couldn’t have made a bigger statement with a five-goal-to-nothing blitz in the first half.
With the game bordering on being one-sided, Victoria Country captain Lily Mithen (Newtown & Chilwell) willed her side back into the game, allowing Gisborne’s Eshe Lane, Kyneton’s Ainslie Kemp and Darebin’s Teleigha Saunders to hit the scoreboard and shrink the margin back to 21 points at the final change.
However, as proven time and time again, great sides responded when challenge as the Metro girls kicked two goals while holding their opponents scoreless in the last quarter to seal the 35-point win for Victoria Metro.
Goalkicking for the Metro girls was shared fairly evenly with Mernda’s Deanna Berry, Beaconsfield’s Lauren Honjacki and Cranbourne’s Courtney Jones kicking two each.
Monique Conti from Melbourne University took out Victoria Metro’s best on ground honours, with the Big Blue Sky V now booking themselves a place in the Pool A Grand Final.
Simply stunning is the only way one could describe the transformation of South Australian female football, as their Youth Girls crushed yet another opponent.
Sixty seconds were all that was needed for Salisbury’s Ashleigh Woodland to kick the first of her three for the day and set the red, blue and gold on their way.
Morphettville Park’s Taylah Eastwood chipped in with a goal at the 11-minute mark to see the South Aussies hold a 13-point quarter time lead over NSW/ACT.
The girls from NSW/ACT did their best to hold out against the rampaging South Australians, allowing only a goal to Brianna Walling (Morphettville Park) to have the margin sit at 25 points at half-time.
However, unlike Victoria Country who responded when held scoreless at halftime, the NSW/ACT could do nothing as Ebony Marinoff (Morphettville Park) and Sarah Allan both hit the scoreboard to help increase the margin to 45 points at the final change. Then came the avalanche.
A devastating five-goal final quarter performance from SA courtesy of goals from the likes of Nikki Gore (Christies Beach) and Kendall Howell (Port Adelaide) saw the red, blue and gold finish as 77-point winners.
The final game of day two saw the defending champs, Western Australia, come up against the ever-improving Queensland.
Queensland and Western Bulldogs women’s coach Craig Starcevich laid out the challenge to his girls before the match. Win this, and it’s a spot in the Grand Final and a shot at the title of champions, something nobody would have thought for Queensland football decades ago.
|Image provided by Ellie Grounds.|
The game was set up early with the sunshine state girls taking a somewhat unexpected 17-point lead into the first break.
From there, the host state never recovered and after a scoreless second quarter, the Queenslanders sensed victory was in reach as they took hold of 25-point lead at half-time.
A goal each in the third quarter wouldn’t be enough for Western Australia, as once again the girls from Queensland clamped down on WA to hold them scoreless for the final term and run out as 34-point upset winners.
Comments on social media indicated Danielle Wall from Dalby was solid in defence, while Springwood’s Renee Winterbottom and North Cairn’s Luana Healy performed admirably.
On Twitter, coach Craig Starcevich simply stated: “These kids can seriously compete!”
Queensland’s win sets up a quirk in the draw, with them to meet fellow undefeated side Victoria Metro on Thursday, before they play each other again in the Pool A Grand Final on Friday afternoon.
Day Two (Tuesday, 5th May) results
NT-Tasmania (7.6.48) defeated The Woomeras (7.1.43)
Victoria Metro (8.5.53) defeated Victoria Country (3.0.18)
South Australia (11.14.80) defeated NSW/ACT (0.3.3)
Queensland (6.9.45) defeated Western Australia (2.2.14)
Day Three (Thursday, 7th May) fixture – WA time
10.30am – NSW/ACT v NT-Tasmania
12.15pm – Victoria Metro v Queensland
2.10pm – The Woomeras v South Australia
4.00pm – Western Australia v Victoria Country
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