The Limestone Coast Women’s Football League ventured into a new era in 2022 and the first chapter of the Under 16 competition came to a special conclusion on Sunday.
Kongorong and South Gambier took centre stage after a great season in the minor rounds with the grand final to be contested in front of a large crowd to see who was going to claim the inaugural premiership.
The ladder-leading Hawks suffered a minor scare before the first bounce with caretaker coaches Ali Scott and Scott Fleming stepping up to the duty as a result of Michael Dethmore being unable to attend due to being a COVID-19 close contact, while the Demons had no issues with Melanie Bateman and Kendell Saffin remaining at the helm hoping to create an upset.
Both sides were eager to get the game going and warmed up in front of the large crowd early.
Instructions from both sides were clear with coaches hoping to see players have fun and enjoy the historic occasion.
Right from the first bounce the Hawks looked good and were on the money with great movement of the ball, creating space for the runners in Evie Sealey, Kate Wright and Jade Longbottom.
The Demons had their opportunities around the ground, but did not make the most of them as the home side’s defence stood tall.
By quarter time Kongorong had established its dominance and the scoreboard read 2.0.12 to 0.1.1
The young Hawks picked from where they left off with plenty of run, carry and skills that a coach would be very proud of.
To the Demons’ credit they persisted and tried every possible way to stop the Kongorong onslaught but again it was to no avail and the Hawks entered half time with a four-goal lead.
Second half action saw South Gambier make some brilliant patches of play through Scarlett Creek and Lilly Walker.
The pair worked hard trying to bring the rest of the side up and bounce back, while they had assistance from Jarrah Altschwager, Georgia Gentile and Leonie Robertson.
But the Hawks were still on fire with Stevie Collins joining Wright, Sealey and Longbottom.
Longbottom was particularly tough coming off with an ankle injury, but gritted the teeth and went back on to keep bossing the game.
The Hawks never allowed the Demons into the contest winning 46-2 on a dream day at home, with Wright collecting best-on-ground honours.
Kongorong entered the new competition with fear and trepidation not knowing what to expect, but with everything to gain.
The young team that found life challenging in the open competition, but found its way in the junior grade.
Although Dethmore was not there to witness Kongorong win a famous flag, he still struggled to contain his excitement.
“It was a great day for under 16’s winning the grand final and I feel extremely honoured to be part of something special,” he said in his report.
“To think we were this time last year, to finish where we did in the seniors and juniors is a huge achievement by everyone.
“It caps off a wonderful year.”
All in all, the scoreboard reflected a good win to Kongorong, while the Demons put up a great fight in the first Under 16 grand final and can hold their heads high and be proud of the year.