Our final game for the minor round could not have been scripted any better, as we played a tough finals-like game against a very good opponent in Central District, who would have to be one of the best teams not to have made finals in the last few seasons. The Dogs were still a mathematical chance of making finals if they won this game and had a couple of other results go their way, so not surprisingly they really brought their trademark physicality.
The Dogs hit the scoreboard early, but we responded with a quick clearance and goal to Ebony Marinoff who cleverly kicked the ball off the ground. Caitlyn Swanson then also kicked a clever goal from a stoppage in the forward pocket. But the scoring then dried up for the remainder of the quarter as both sides applied some strong defensive pressure, and we took a 7-point lead into the first break.
The second quarter started as the first quarter finished, with both sides defending strongly. The backend of the quarter opened up a little with a goal to the Dogs, followed by a goal to Maddie Green courtesy of a free kick. Half time saw us with a 6-point lead.
Third quarters have been a strength of ours this season and this week was no different. After a tough 7 minutes without troubling the scoreboard, Maddie Green slotted her second goal, then Caitlin Gould kicked her first goal via a strong mark on the lead from a great pass from Sam Franson. We held a 17-point lead heading into the last quarter.
Central District have been one of the better finishing teams in the competition this year, so we expected they would throw everything at us to keep their slim hopes of playing finals alive. We were on the back foot early, with two goals in six minutes to the Dogs. They then missed a tricky set shot that would have seen the scores level. Immediately following this, a clever and brave kick-in by Tamsyn Morriss started a chain of possessions as we took the ball up the other end into our forward line with a mark to Caitlin Gould, who duly slotted her second goal. When the final siren sounded we had a strong 11-point win.
Momentum and belief has been building for us in the second half of the season, winning our last five games, most of which were against teams in and around the top 4. At the start of the season we set ourselves a goal of winning seven minor round games, in which we finished with seven wins and a draw. A big tick to our entire squad for achieving this.
Finishing second has earnt us a shot at going through to the Grand Final if we can get over the line 4:15pm this Saturday at Coopers Stadium against Norwood. The Red Legs finished minor premiers, making this a huge but not insurmountable challenge. One thing we have shown in spades this season is our best is definitely good enough!
– Jason Fairall, Senior Coach
Goals: Maddie Green (2), Caitlin Gould (2), Ebony Marinoff (2), Caitlyn Swanson (1)
Best: Brooke Tonon, Ebony Marinoff , Caitlin Gould, Laura Chigwidden, Ellie Kellock, Sam Franson, Sarah Goodwin, Jess Bates, Tessa Kohn, Tamsyn Morriss