Women's Football: Magpies swoop on premiership trophy

North Geelong Magpies have claimed the AFL Goldfields Women’s League division one premiership to cap off an unblemished season.

North Geelong's Charlotte Thorne is announced as the most valuable player in the grand final. Picture: Kate Healy

North Geelong's Charlotte Thorne is announced as the most valuable player in the grand final. Picture: Kate Healy

The Magpies got off to a flying start in the grand final against Redan at C.E Brown Reserve on Sunday to lead by 21 points at the first break.

By half time, North Geelong had nearly doubled the margin, while holding the Lions goalless. 

Redan did well to stop the flood gates in the third quarter, but only managed to score a point – the sole score of the quarter – allowing North Geelong to maintain a healthy 40-point buffer going into the final term. 

A large roar erupted from the sidelines when Georgie Hassell converted the Lions’ first major midway through the fourth, but the Magpies were quick to put the fire out with four late goals to extend their lead to a comfortable 58 points and secure the premiership. 

The league’s leading goal kicker Georgia Watson and North Geelong teammates Rhianna Arnold and Jane Burch finished the game with two goals each after plenty of delivery due to an attacking, fast-paced game style.

The Magpies’ Charlotte Thorne earned the most valuable player award for her attack on the ball and shutting down some of Redan’s key performers. 

North Geelong coach Shannon Knox-Gray said it was no easy feat to go through the season undefeated and cap it off as champions.

She said she was proud of every player for working “extremely hard” all year. 

“It’s everything to us,” Knox-Gray said.  

“We’ve had to rebuild after the VFL took a few players... we really had to go out there and recruit and we’ve done that quite well and ended up with this result.”

While North Geelong had defeated Redan three times in the lead up to the grand final, Knox-Gray said a tougher game in the semi final had given her players “a bit of a scare”. 

“It was the best thing to happen to us, (and allowed us) to play the way that we did,” she said.

“Our girls were pretty switched on from the start and we knew Redan would come out pretty hard.

“We’re undefeated and very strong, so we knew that they would probably go in with a ‘what can we lose?’ attitude.”

Knox-Gray said the team approached the game with the intention to attack, but also put increased emphasis on defence. 

“We’ve never really had to do that before (in the season), but Redan has quite good runners so we had to really shut that down,” she said.

While Thorne was a deserving winner of the MVP, Knox-Gray made special mention of Ruby Benham after a strong performance.

“Ruby was a highlight of our day,” Knox-Gray said.

“She just runs and runs all day... she is defensive, she is attacking, she can play anywhere.”

Knox-Gray put the Magpies’ impressive season down to the depth of the side and the versatility of the players, who could perform in different positions. 

RESULT

North Geelong Magpies 9.13 (67) d Redan Lions 1.3 (9)

GOALS – North Geelong: G. Watson 2, R. Arnold 2, J. Burch 2, K. Houghton, C. DeGroot, E. Tucker. Redan: G. Hassell

BEST – North Geelong: G. Irvine, R. Benham , C. Thorne, C. Stevens, K. Houghton, J. Burch. Redan: M. Fogas, M. Sands, S. Simpson, K. Waldie, A. McDonald, H. Smith

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MINOR GRADES...

Redan overpowered an undefeated North Ballarat City to claim the Ballarat Junior Girls premiership at C.E Brown Reserve on Sunday.

The Lions’ co-captain Charli Ross was awarded the most valuable player award after dominating on the field in the nine-point win.

In Riddell Junior Girls, Melton made history as the first junior team to become premiers after defeating Bacchus Marsh by four, with Ella Tyson awarded MVP.

In Ballarat Youth Girls, Ararat Storm was a force against Ballarat Swans, securing back-to-back premierships with a 40-point victory.

Ararat skipper Ayesha Nicholson was rewarded for her efforts on the field.

Gisborne withstood a challenging Sunbury in a five-point thriller to be crowned Riddell Youth Girls premiers.

Gisborne’s Loree Newton was deemed best on ground.

Meanwhile, Carisbrook has wrapped up its impressive season in division two competition with the premiership after defeating Bacchus Marsh by 43 points.

Sherriden Byrne, who was one of Carisbrook’s five goal kickers, was awarded the MVP medal after giving one of her best performances.