Crunch time in women’s season

Last weekend’s round 8 marked the end of the road for one team, but there is still so much to play for in the 2021 Veolia Limestone Coast Women’s Football league season. After a one-sided round of football, teams have only one game left to show what they are made of ahead of finals.

Penola’s McCorquindale Park once again played host to Friday night football last week and ladder leader South Gambier continued its winning streak. Millicent was shell shocked by the Demons, who consistently bombarded the goal posts in a 172-0 victory.

Neave Delaney led the goal kickers with four majors, but had plenty of company with Kendell Saffin, Simone MacDonald, Chelsea Frost, Melanie Bateman, Alice Tentye and Jasmine White all collecting hat-tricks of their own.

Kelsie Wilkinson was a rare shining light on a dark night for the Saints. The blowout margins were also a familiar sight at Kalangadoo on Sunday afternoon. Being forced to wear the playing jumpers inside out flustered North Gambier, which struggled to match Mundulla on the scoreboard.

Despite the Tigers’ defence working hard, Mundulla made regular inroads as Kellsie Turner continued her golden form. Turner banged home six goals for the second week in a row, while Natasha Horne, Brooke Ballinger and Ashlyn Knauerhase also chipped in for the 2019 premiers.

Fiona Young was North’s only goal kicker in the 86-point defeat. The Magpies played with flying colours on their home turf to register an important win over Casterton Sandford. With a win crucial to both sides’ finals hopes, the Cats initially took the fight up to Kalangadoo.

Despite only seven points the difference at quarter time, the Magpies flew away in the second half to win 58-7. Madalyn Bonanno booted three majors and Chloe Pratt kicked straight twice, while Jamie Ryan was a dominant figure in the midfield. Alyssa Humphries scored the Victorians’ only goal, while Ree Humphries received top votes.

The Eagles’ crushing 154-point victory over Kongorong on home turf last Friday night also proved to be the latter’s final game of the minor-round season. The Hawks leaked regular majors as Georgina Jacobs headlined the long list of 11 goal kickers for the hosts.

Kongorong coach Michael Dethmore thought his team struggled to keep up with the pace during the back end of the game under lights conceding 11 goals in the second half. However, he believed the side maintained a fighting mindset to the final siren.

“Last Friday they probably just ran out of puff near the end, but the fought every other game out,” Dethmore said. “There was never an easy game and the respect we got from opposition teams was fantastic. “I was really impressed with the commitment and courage they showed going all in when they crossed the white line.”

It is for this reason Dethmore believed there were many positives from the winless campaign with competitive losses to North and Millicent standout matches. “Although we struggled, there were plenty of moments where everyone had done something and had a highlight through the year,” he said.

“It was still a positive season for us with little things each player can hang their hat on and hopefully push forward from that, so we were quite happy disregarding the scoreboard.” The 2021 season was only the second time the Hawks competed in the LCWFL.

The club is yet to win a in the competition, but the likes of Jade Longbottom, Evie Sealey, Nikki Clayton, Sarah Lucas and Kate Wright have displayed promising signs on the field. After Experiencing a high turnover of players over pre-season and using 2021 as a development year, Dethmore is looking forward to the future of his raw squad.

“I have heard a couple of people say look out for our side in two years time because we are building for the future,” he said. “We had a pretty young side, so physically and skill wise we were a little bit behind in development, but we worked hard to create a system and maintain confidence. “Our depth was fantastic, so hopefully most can come back and I think they will.”

Kongorong will get the chance to end the year on a high note and avoid a second consecutive wooded spoon in the 7 v 8 playoff next week at McLaughlin Park. Tonight it is all on the line for some clubs with the fight for final two semi-final berth still unresolved.

Penola should get the job done against Millicent, which enjoys the home-ground advantage at McLaughlin Park. Mundulla and Kalangadoo both need wins to stay alive and the former appears to enjoy the luck of the draw.

The Magpies travel to Vansittart Park to play the battling North Gambier, while Mundulla has the much harder task of overcoming the all-conquering South in Millicent. Kybybolite meets Casterton Sandford in the late game at Vansittart Park and a solid win could vault the Victorians into a semi-final.

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