The Warners Bay Women keep their finals hopes alive by beating the league’s giants, Newcastle City Stars in round 17. The girls put on a tough display of football, challenging the Stars on City turf. While it seemed almost impossible after the third quarter to take down City, the underdogs came through with a courageous comeback showing the strength and heart of the Warners Bay girls.
The Bulldogs defence in the first quarter left Newcastle City without a goal, with strong pressure forcing nothing but behinds. Within only a couple of minutes into the first quarter, Jade Macpherson put the first real points on the board for the Doggies. City got one up on the Bulldogs before full forward Rachel Evans scored her first for the day.
Warners Bay took to the field in the second half only a few points ahead before the Stars blew out the score, kicking a further three against the Bulldogs. The fourth quarter was all about pride for the Warners Bay girls. Pocket Rocket Sammy Delaney, who had an attacking blinder in the final 20 minutes, kept the Doggies hopes alive by kicking the first goal of the quarter. Evans took a game-changing mark in front of the posts to secure her second goal for the game, leaving Warners Bay to trail by only one goal. The energy in attack fired off, with a string of handballs down the wing, offloading to midfielder Amy Pittman who kicked a beautiful goal evening the score. It was all over for Newcastle City Stars from here, who hardly got a look in against the pumped-up Bulldogs in the final quarter. Evans scored her third and final for the match, before Pittman drove it home locking in the final goal of the game. The final score sitting at 4.11-35 to 7.6-48 for our girls.
Amy Pittman and Tracey Baker were two of the best on ground amongst the midfield and in attack with Booth having a good run in defence. Full-forward Rach Evans made the list with her consistent marking in the scoring 50 and her 3 goals to take the Doggies to victory. As mentioned, Delaney had a huge impact on the fourth quarter, easily outrunning the Newcastle Stars defence and keeping the ball in the scoring end for Warners Bay. Moley Croak had another blinder, out-rucking the Stars players all game, and keeping them rather disgruntled. Excellent stuff for the young ruck, making her mentor Di Crep proud.
Warners Bay are the only team to have beaten the Newcastle City Stars in nearly two years. This week the girls take on Maitland to decide who makes the finals. The doggies have been in impressive form despite the injury toll coming into the end of the year. If the girls keep it up, it’s expected that they’ll make a solid impression on the final stages of the competition.
The Plate team headed to Maitland for what was a must win game to guarantee a finals spot. Having won fairly convincingly in their encounter earlier in the year, the boys headed in full of confidence despite having a number of scratchings and having to saddle up a few old stallions who were good enough to come out of retirement.
On a Good 2 track and heavy winds, it was evident that the game would become a scrap and it certainly proved to be the case as Warners Bay grinded to a slender quarter time lead kicking the only goal of the quarter.
With the wind advantage with Maitland in the second quarter, they capitalised on their opportunities better and kicked ahead to lead by 7 points at half time with their desire to win the ball and run in numbers being the feature.
There was a sense of déjà vu as Coach Chair was left wondering what he needed to do to provide a spark for what was a very flat first half showing.
In the third quarter the arm wrestle continued and neither side were able to grab the momentum as two goals apiece saw the margin stay the same leading into the final break.
Nick Pattey and Connor Manwarring were working hard in the middle to win the ball around the stoppages but they needed more support if the boys were to get over the line as Maitland could sniff an upset.
Coach Chair moved Rick Robertson forward who provided an immediate impact and Daniel Henson and young Will Scott continued to battle hard to try and lift the Bulldogs over the line but it wasn’t to be as Maitland simply wanted it more and in a very disappointing outcome given the chance to lock in a finals spot, the home side prevailed by 10 points.
A huge game next week against arch rivals Cardiff will hopefully be the required motivation for a much improved showing.
Round 17 saw the boys travel up the Hunter Valley to take on the Maitland Saints. The dogs were up for a hard day missing key players Ben Hunter, Jack Hardman, Nicholas Metcalfe, Matt Spinks and Riley Warner. From the first bounce Jake Roach and Ky Mcgrath controlled the middle allowing plenty of inside 50s for the Dogs. The boys were not able to convert the dominance to scoreboard pressure to due inaccurate kicking and the strong swirling wind. At the first break the boys lead 2.10.22 to 1.0.6. The rest of the game followed a similar trend to the first with the boys dominating play but failing to convert goal scoring opportunities with the final scores finishing 14.24.108 to 4.7.31. The boys will no doubt be working on goal kicking this week before the final round big clash against Cardiff.