Women’s football intensity rises

With just two rounds to go before finals, the intensity of the 2021 Veolia Limestone Coast Women’s Football League season is rising.

Round 7 took place across two venues and the winners made their finals intentions clear last weekend.

On a beautiful evening at McCorquindale Park, it was the two leading teams which showed their class.

South Gambier set a scorching pace under the setting sun during its huge win over North Gambier.

The Tigers were never in the contest and were caught napping from the Demons’ express ball movement in the air and on the ground.

Many players had a field day inside 50, especially full-forward Jasmine White who kicked six majors.

Best-on-ground Kendell Saffin also collected a bag of five goals, while Tess Andrews and Neave Delaney were also at their best with seven majors between them.

The end result was a 137-point thrashing as North could only manage two behinds with Chloe Perryman fighting hard.

Penola could not give its home fans something to cheer about during a difficult 38-point defeat to Kybybolite.

Kyby kept in touch with South at the top of the ladder by keeping the Eagles scoreless.

Hayley Sellars was the only multiple goal scorer after she kicked truly twice, while Dellie Brown and Tyler Atkinson dominated around the ground.

The competition headed across the border for the second week in a row and Kalangadoo enjoyed the scenery of Island Park.

The Magpies strolled to a comfortable 39-point win over Kongorong with Chloe Pratt and Mikaila Pitt the leading lights.

Hannah Kuhl-Miller and Kate Wright fought hard for the Hawks.

Casterton Sandford completed its short stay at home on a winning note in another one-sided affair against Millicent.

Despite the best efforts of Lauren Potter, the Saints were not allowed to trouble the scorers from the Cats, whose midfield setup a convincing 86-point victory.

Casterton Sandford coach Mark Widdicombe said it was close to the perfect game with his side’s clean ball movement the telling factor.

“I could not ask for anything more from the girls,” he said.

“It was good to watch through the middle because they were just so smooth.

“They ran hard and were always there to back each other up if someone was in trouble.”

After what Widdicombe described as a “sluggish start” the Cats found their stride in the second term kicking 30 points to set up the win.

A major contributor to the charge was Alyssa Humphries, who kicked five goals and has already become a vital part of the playing group after just two games.

“Alyssa has only played a couple of games this year, but has always been one I have wanted in the team because she is a strong marker and not afraid to get the hard ball,” Widdicombe said.

FORGING AHEAD: South Gambier’s Jasmine White shrugs off a tackle from Melinda Beers during her five-goal performance against North Gambier at McCorquindale Park on Friday night.

“She obviously has a big impact on the scoreboard and is one of our key forwards and a danger to other teams.”

After around five players were considered, midfielder Lauren Skyes received top votes closely followed by Erin Horsnell.

The win puts the Victorians in fourth position on the ladder and in the thick of the finals race – a position Widdicombe did not expect to be in after a challenging pre-season.

“We were a little bit uncertain if we were going to play this year being the only team from Victoria,” he said.

“It was hard to tell what was going because we could not start training as early as we would have liked, while the South Australian teams got to train whenever.

“Travel is also a factor because we had quite few girls from Portland, Hamilton and Horsham.

“So we were stuck with a limited pre-season which affected us a little bit.”

A big boost for the club on and off the field was the return of football to Island Park and Widdicombe said that been brilliant for the entire community.

“It is a bit of a pre-season for some of the town’s supporters because they get an earlier start before Western Border season, so it was great to see some local faces showing their support at the club,” he said.

This Sunday Casterton Sandford travels to Kalangadoo to meet the home side in a high-stakes clash.

Both sides are locked in an intense fight for fourth spot on the ladder and are only separated by percentage, so Widdicombe expects a tough fight.

“Kalangadoo is a pretty tough and physical side, but I know we can shake them off with our experience,” he said.

“It is based on percentage now in terms of who will get that last finals position, so we will just play each game on its merits and hopefully we can gain a top-four spot.

“We are fairly confident going into this weekend’s game and will go for the win.”

North Gambier against Mundulla is the other Sunday morning game, while Millicent v South Gambier and Penola v Kongorong both take place tomorrow night as the action continues at McCorquindale Park.

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