Report and photos from history-making women’s match

MATCH REPORT – Chris Lovell
PHOTOS – Dave Harding

LAST Sunday saw a new chapter added to the illustrious history of the New Norfolk District Football Club when the senior women’s side won the club’s first female premiership. Following a fantastic home and away season in which they only lost one game, the lady Eagles lined up as firm favourites against St Virgil’s Old Scholars in the grand final at the state’s traditional home of football, North Hobart Oval.

The game started in fine and sunny conditions on Sunday morning, with no noticeable breeze it was ideal conditions for football. The Eagles kicked to the Letitia St end of the ground. The first five minutes of the game saw scrambly, congested football with both sides displaying a lack of composure. St Virgil’s was in attack for a few minutes before managing a scrambled behind for the first score of the match.

The Eagles started to show some composure as they pushed forward for Natalie Smedley to score their first major with a kick off the ground at the eight-minute mark. Olivia Harris, Gracie Kube, Sophie Farrow, and Zoie Crawford were prominent for the Eagles as they pressed forward again for Crawford to mark strongly 11-minutes into the game. She kicked truly from 35m to give the Eagles a two-goal lead. Mel Green then took a strong mark 20m out at the 17-minute mark to record the third goal for the Eagles, giving them a good three-goal lead at the first break: New Norfolk 3.1 (19) to St Virgil’s 0.1 (1).

New Norfolk started the second quarter strongly and pressed forward for a Mel Green mark in the goal square. Uncharacteristically. she missed a sitter. Chloe Ford scored a goal from the goal square at the eight-minute mark before St Virgil’s managed their first goal of the match at 11 minutes in. The Eagles were well on top and looking the better side. They had the chance to put the game beyond the reach of St Virgil’s, but inaccuracy (a tally of one goal and five behinds) left the door ajar. Half-time scores: New Norfolk 4.6 (30) to St Virgil’s 1.1 (7).

The early stages of the third quarter were a repeat of the first as both sides were struggling for dominance. The play was congested and scrambly with most of the action happening between the two forward 50. St Virgil’s managed to get the first goal of the quarter at the seven-minute mark from an Eagle kick-out on the full. The Eagles steadied and pushed forward for Green to mark strongly and goal from 20m out to restore the margin. St Virgil’s scored a goal off the ground from the goal square at the 17-minute mark to keep its slim hopes alive. Three-quarter-time scores: New Norfolk 5.6 (36) to St Virgil’s 3.1 (19).

The last quarter belonged to Chloe Ford. The Eagles pushed forward early for Chloe Ford to goal at the six-minute mark as she played on around the mark and slotted a great goal. She followed up at the nine-minute mark with another goal to give the Eagles a match winning lead. To top it all off she repeated the dose with another great goal at the 16-minute mark to put the icing on the cake. St Virgil’s kept trying and managed a goal at the 17-minute mark to reduce the winning margin to 32-points.

The Lady Eagles were too good on the day and had winners all over the ground. It was another even performance by the Lady Eagles with Olivia Harris, Sophie Farrow, Zoie Crawford dominant all game. Maddison Devine was strong in the ruck and around the ground. Chloe Ford was dangerous on the forward line and the Eagles backline performed well when under pressure. The Eagles have now created history by winning the club’s first women’s premiership.

History was also created as Mel Green and her daughter Maddison Devine became what is believed to be the first mother/daughter combination to play together in a grand final. Congratulations Mel and Maddison on achieving this great feat. It is also understood that Mel and Carolyn Mart have played their last games. We thank them both for their contribution to the club and hope they stay involved with the Eagles.

Coach Dean King and assistant coach Zoie Crawford have done a great job with the team this season. Congratulations to them both as we celebrate the team’s great achievement and look forward to next season with anticipation. Congratulations and well done to all players, coaches, and support staff on creating history for the New Norfolk District Football Club.

Final Scores
New Norfolk 8. 9 (57)
St Virgil’s 4.1 (25)
Best – New Norfolk
: O. Harris, C. Ford, M. Devine, S. Farrow, G. Kube, D. Clifford; St Virgil’s: A. Reid, G. Banks, A. Singles, M. Debeljakovic, I. Stoye, A. Sakina.
Goals – New Norfolk: C. Ford 4, M .Green 2, Z. Crawford, N. Smedley; St Virgil’s: G. Banks 3, A. Sakina.

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