The Dandenong Stingrays have been crowned champions of the inaugural Youth Girls Academy Challenge after the competition came to a close yesterday.
See below for a post-match review from the Grand-Finals:
By Callum O’Connor
GRAND FINAL: SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS vs DANDENONG STINGRAYS
The Dandenong Stingrays are the premiers of the 2016 Youth Girls Academy Challenge after defeating the Sandringham Dragons by 24-points in Monday’s Grand Final.
Although Sandringham beat Dandenong by eight points in Round 1, the Stingrays were the superior side from beginning to end, producing a performance that showcased everything that has made the Stingrays such an excellent, cohesive unit.
The opening quarter saw the Stingrays burst out of the gates early to pile on three majors and limit the influence of Sandringham power trio Isabel Huntington, Katherine Smith and Julia Halaseh-Russo.
Best on Ground recipient and Dandenong captain Georgia Walker led by example, tagging Halaseh-Russo out of the contest and martialing her side’s backline to turn defence into the first line of attack.
Showing similar determination was the infallible Emily Browning who relished in winning one-on-one contests all around the ground.
Up forward, Tylah Hanks looked dangerous whenever she was near the ball, kicking two goals in the Stingrays’ first half.
Whilst many of Sandringham’s best players had their colours lowered, they still had stand out contributions from Anna Hayes and Emma Harley at either end of the ground, while it seemed no knock was hard enough to keep Gemma Lagioia and Charis Ulu Peniata from hitting the next contest.
Dragons captain Katherine Smith was hampered by excellent pressure from Georgia Gee and Parris Stahl but never surrendered in her relentless efforts.
The win is the first premiership the Stingrays have won since the club was established in 1992.
Stingrays coach Scott Gowans said the win was a culmination of the hard work, passion and discipline the team developed throughout the carnival.
“I put it down to our structure and these guys being so coachable,” he said.
“That and our discipline was what won the game.”
Dandenong 3.2 4.4 4.6 4.7.31
Sandringham 0.0 1.0 1.0 1.1.7
Best – (D) Walker, Browning, Hanks, Grierson, Struylaart, Gee.
– (S) Lagioia, Hayes, ulu Peniata, Harley, Smith.
Goals – (D) Hanks 2, Francis, Struylaart.
– (S) Lynch.
CONSOLATION FINAL 1: CALDER CANNONS vs NORTH BALLARAT
Calder has finished its Youth Girls Academy Challenge (YGAC) campaign in style with a 30-point win over North Ballarat.
The absence of Calder stars Neve O’Connor, Deanna Berry and Monique Conti gave several Cannons a chance at major roles, which they relished the opportunity to do so.
Nell Morris-Dalton excelled in ruck, Madeleine Guerin and Sarah Sansonetti turned in their most confident YGAC performances yet and Prudence Cordes showed her footballing smarts don’t finish at full forward after being pushed into defence.
For the Rebels, the lesson was not on pressure, discipline or talent so much as capitalising on hard work.
Their glimpses of poise finally came together in the last quarter to reward the intense attack on the ball they were always showing.
Lauren Butler, Jasmine Kawa and Amy Jackson’s relentless running resulted in three late North Ballarat goals as Alyssa Humphries and late inclusion Cecilia Lowrey gave their opponents the slip.
Calder coach Damien Keeping said that he was pleased that his side had put its development throughout the competition into practise in the final match of the season.
“We asked them to really look at what they’ve learnt this year and put it into practice,” Keeping said.
“We see that as a launching pad for whatever footy they play this year.”
Calder Cannons 1.2 3.5 7.7 8.7.55
North Ballarat 0.0 0.4 0.5 3.7.25
Best – (C) Pronesti, Morris-Dalton, Cordes, Dargan, Guerin, Sansonetti.
– (NB) Butler, Astbury, Lowrey, Kawa, Jackson, Humphries.
Goals – (C) Pronesti 3, Cordes, Fitzgerald, Guerin, Dargan.
– (NB) Butler, Lowrey, Humphries.
CONSOLATION FINAL 2: BENDIGO PIONEERS vs GIPPSLAND POWER
A blistering start has helped Bendigo cruise to a 49-point win over Gippsland Power in the second consolation final at Frankston Oval.
The Pioneers were kicking with the wind in the first quarter and ensured its forwards made full use of it.
Isabella Ayre was unstoppable up forward with her hard attack on the footy and incredible evasion despite her height, kicking three to lead her side to a 33-point buffer at the first break.
Despite trailing at the main break, Gippsland never gave in, fighting out an even contest for the remainder of the match.
Of particular mention was ruckman Casey Sherriff, who out-positioned Ayre in their one-on-one duels.
At ground level, Gippsland were well served by Emily Haeusler and Demi Plunkett while Nikia Webber, Shayla Marsh and Ash Jans set a demonstrative example with their cool heads and constant rebounding from defence.
The difference in the game was Bendigo’s run and carry once they forced the ball out of stoppages.
Ayre was everywhere, while the scintillating pace of Tiahna Cochrane and clever contest navigation of Aisling Tupper, Rachel Thomas and Marla Neal gave the Pioneers first use of the ball.
Bendigo Pioneers 5.3 8.5 9.5 10.5.65
Gippsland Power 0.0 2.4 2.4 2.6.18
Best – (BP) Ayre, Cochrane, Tupper, Neal, Thomas, McLeod.
– (GP) Sherriff, Haeusler, Plunkett, Webber, Jans, S Marsh.
Goals – (BP) Ayre 4, McLeod 2, Marshall, Cochrane, Sawers, C Dare.
– (GP) Dunn, Van der Pluym.
CONSOLATION FINAL 3: GEELONG WESTERN vs MURRAY BUSHRANGERS
A clean pair of heels and sheer weight of possession saw Geelong Western defeat Murray Bushrangers by 55-points in the 7 vs 8 consolation final at Frankston Oval.
The Jets’ dominant midfield and potent forward line saw them hold the lead all match, piling on three majors in the opening term to blow the game wide open.
Despite not converting opportunities on the scoreboard, Murray controlled the contest in the second quarter as the athleticism of Rebecca Webster and Millie Brown combined with the poise and guts of teammate Julia Harvey.
After the main break, Murray relied upon the strong backline structure of Jade Tancred, Grace Egan and Elise Freeman to stem the flow of goals.
The trio performed under pressure once again, but were eventually overwhelmed by the relentless service provided by Jets midfielders Maddy Lister, Olivia Purcell and Sarah Chapman.
Geelong Western sharp-shooter Denby Taylor capped off her afternoon with four goals, while teammate Georgi Psaltis chimed in with two majors in the Jets’ first win of the competition.
Geelong Western 3.1 5.1 6.3 10.4.64
Murray 0.1 1.3 1.3 1.3.9
Best – (GW) Lister, Taylor, Purcell, Searle, Chapman, Sheppard.
– (MB) Webster, Harvey, Hicks, Egan, Brown, Balaburov.
Goals – (GW) Taylor 4, Psaltis 2, McEvoy, Koropeckyj, Benham, Sheppard.
– (MB) Cuthbert.
For more information on the Youth Girls Academy Challenge, please CLICK HERE…
Photo courtesy of, Dandenong Journal