Grand Finals '19 - Demons v Lions (Women's Premiership)
Ed Hooper | 19.08.19
Wandsworth Demons 1.0.6 def. by North London Lions 1.4.10
Undefeated Season Wasn't To Be... Wandsworth lose the Grand Final to the Lions in the tightest game of the day.
It was déja vu this finals series. We repeated last year with a loss in the semi to the Lions and a win in the prelim to meet them again in the big dance. But this year we weren't able to take the chocolates, and the Lions became premiers.
That's about where the similarities end though, as this game was the most intense of the day. The semi final saw 7 goals kicked by both teams and several points. The GF had 2. Quarter time margin was a solitary point, halftime it was only 4. The final score; Lions 1.4.10, Demons 1.0.6. It was an incredibly even contest all day, with both teams struggling to move it easily from end to end.
Our first quarter was our best, as we came out strong and looked on top, despite being unable to convert at all. Their coach had mentioned in a radio podcast back home that he recognised we played with a good structure, and that quarter we really showed it. Handballs around the contest hit running players streaming the right direction, and we looked like we were on.
Unfortunately the Lions wisened up in the 2nd and we lost the good momentum we had gained. We were lucky they only hit 4 behinds to keep us in it, but they weren't good looks at goal. We still made it hard for them all the way to the posts, and defence had a hard job, not being tested the week prior.
They managed to suck us into the tackles and made it congested. It stifled our ability to get the ball out to our running players, which made it hard to create the chains of possessions we managed in the first quarter. When we did find outlet hand balls, they continued the constant pressure and our kicks went to their player instead of ours.
They nailed their shot on goal in the third to be up 10-nil at 3 qtr time. This was it, last 15 mins to go. From here, I knew the game would soon be out completely of my hands, and it was up to the girls on the field. The lions continued their dominance early but we managed to turn the tide!, and got into our fwd line to give us hope. And then a free kick to our German Natlalie Ludwig, right in front, maybe 25m out. And she only went and nailed it, straight through the sticks. 5 mins to go, 4 points down, we were up and about. Just one more goal.
But alas... we couldn't do it. The ball was sent back and forth over our fwd 50 line several times in the dying minutes, but to no avail.
To drop all the cliches, our girls gave it their all, left it all out on the park, right up to the final siren. Our best was those who managed to get the ball through the congestion, like Jess Jones and Jordy Barrett getting it well downfield, as well as the ever reliable Prip standing up in defence and limiting their scoring. Laura Kelly won the hard balls at the coal face, feeding the others. Lastly our lone scorer for the day, GNat worked hard all day and was rewarded with the shot and struck true.
I couldn't be prouder in my first season coaching as the girls did everything I asked, and we grew as a team. We'll be back next year to go the one better.
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