VICTORIAN Women’s Football League will investigate why North Ballarat walked off the ground with three minutes to play against Bendigo on Sunday.
The VWFL confirmed yesterday the league football operations manager and an executive would speak with both clubs this week before determining if any action was necessary.
Eagles coach John Marshall confirmed he called his players from the field in the north-west division match but declined to explain his actions until he had met with VWFL officials.
Marshall told The Courier there were incidents during the game that just “didn’t sit well” with him.
The Courier understands there were concerns about player welfare.
North Ballarat utility Nicole Hildebrand sustained a serious leg injury late in the final quarter, but it is unknown whether this was directly related to the premature finish.
Bendigo Thunder led by 23 points, 6.4 (40) to 2.5 (17), when the Eagles walked.
Marshall had no issue with Thunder, who he said had good talent and the potential to be the first north-west division club to earn promotion to premier division.
“We went there expecting a hard, contested match and it was a hard contested match,” Marshall said.
“I thought we did well and held them scoreless in the third quarter and to one goal in the fourth – they dominated the first half but we stopped their momentum.”
Bendigo coach Russell Jeffrey told Bendigo Advertiser it was a typical game of footy without malice.
Jeffrey said he was unsure what sparked the end of the game, following a 25-metre penalty against Bendigo, but there was no retribution or scuffle from the decision.
Marshall was pleased with the efforts of his team, despite the loss.
“Game structure’s really starting to work,” Marshall said.
“The girls really ran their legs off...their press and transition, picking up players in defence, was great.”
Marshall was impressed with centre half-back Chloe Hughes, who was prepared to run off her opponent and shepherd, and Kaitlyn Ashmore, who relished a more defensive role.
North Ballarat returns home to host Lalor at Eureka Stadium on Sunday.