Kew completes undefeated season
Kew survived a late scare from the Darebin Falcons to score the Division 1 premiership for 2016 and complete an unbeaten season.
The Bears controlled the game from the second quarter onwards, however, despite having their lead reduced to just five points early in the last quarter, steadied to take home a well-deserved premiership 5.3 (33) to Darebin 2.2 (14) as Michael Thompson reports.
The first quarter was a largely defensive affair, with no score on the board for either team. Darebin were able to monopolise early possession, and generated plenty of territory, but were unable to convert any of their 14 inside-50 entries for the quarter. Instead, it was the Kew defence which held firm.
Likewise, however, the Bears’ attack was unable to punish Darebin’s lack of scoring power when they were able to generate inside 50s in the opening quarter. With 49 tackles between both sides in the opening quarter, free space was at a premium for both teams, with the first goal of the game having to wait until the second term.
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That goal, scored five minutes into the second quarter, came from the Bears, with Shaylee Taylor benefitting from a free kick to kick-start Kew.
Certainly, it gave the Bears a big lift, as they started to dominate possession and territory for the last 15 minutes of the first half. Assisting their cause was the absence for a large part of the quarter of arguably Darebin’s best player during the opening term in Julia Chiera, who went off after copping a slight knock to the head – yet returned just before half time.
Late in the second quarter, Gabrielle Mahoney delivered Kew’s second goal when she was able to extract the ball out of the pack from a boundary throw-in, and gave Kew a 13-point half-time lead. As has been the case in Darebin’s previous two encounters with the Bears, the Falcons had struggled to generate scoring power, and their scoreless first-half didn’t help their premiership chnce.
It seemed as though Kew would begin to kick away as the second half started when Charlotte Mahoney opened the scoring for the Bears with a clever snap. There was a bit of conjecture when Taylor appeared to mark on the line, however, the goal counted and it helped put Kew 18 points up.
With the next goal crucial to the outcome of the game, it was Darebin who were able to get on to the front foot, now needing a goal to get back within striking distance. Whilst they put a lot of pressure on, it appeared their efforts would count for nothing as they put two points on the board. However, their perseverance paid off, with Julia Chiera slamming through the first goal for the Falcons to put them 11 points down, and still in the game heading into the final term.
The Falcons took in that momentum that they gained into the last quarter, as Sophie Boyden snapped a goal to reduce the margin to five points at the seven minute mark. Kew was able to fashion a response however through Isabelle Harding, and largely dominated the remainder of play to ensure that they would take home the premiership.
Kew were able to hold Darebin up in the form of constant stoppages to ensure that time would run out before the Falcons had a chance to respond.
With seconds remaining in the contest, Gabrielle Mahoney put through a goal from 30 metres out – celebrating as the siren rang whilst the ball sailed through, giving Kew a well-deserved premiership with a 19-point victory.
Sarah McKenna was adjudged best on ground for Kew, and won the medal for her tireless efforts in the ruck and also around the ground. Harding, Joelle Metres and Carla De Luca were also prominent for the Bears.
Tamara Olcorn and Chiera were clearly the Falcons’ best as they tried to will their side to victory, but had solid support from Vanja Smiljanic and Shannon Egan.
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