Wellington AFL Women’s Grand Final goes down to the wire

21 Dec, 2020

The Tigers are the 2020 Wellington Women’s AFL champs after a hard fought win over the Saints at Hutt Park on Sunday.

After seven rounds and nearly every weather condition, the Tigers and Saints turned out for the 2020 WAFLW Grand Final.

The tone for the game was set early with both sides cracking in at the contest. The Saints had had a strong contested-ball game all season but took it to another level early on.

Sam Lightfoot was key in driving the Saints forward, and her attacking pressure was rewarded with a goal. But it was a tight contest and the Tigers hit back. BJ Murdoch was strong off the half back line showing her normal dash out of defence and the Tigers pushed forward, however Lyndsay Murray was simply dominating in the air for the Saints with a number of excellent defensive marks.

The Tigers got their trademark running game going with Denise Durkin prominent in the linking handball chains and soon had the ball deep in their forward line. A great tackle from Izzy Goodwin set up a set shot which she calmly put through. Chloe Rahui just missed another shot and the Tigers went into quarter time with a one-point lead.

It was the Saints day in the air as they continued to intercept mark the Tigers kicks. The Tigers kept pushing forward, locking it in their forward half. Denise Durkin and Bili Moffat kept the Saints defenders under pressure, forcing turnovers, and Izzy Goodwin was creating a few headaches when the ball hit the ground, weaving in and out of packs for a couple of shots on goal.

The third quarter was a great contest, with both sides well in contention and having played great footy in the first half, confidence was high in both camps. The Saints dominated territory with Tara Kerr winning the hard-ball.

The Tigers good defensive structure, lead by Sam McCombie, had the Saints forced into taking shots from long range allowing BJ Murdoch to cut-off the kicks inside 50. The ball was pinging between ‘the arcs’ all quarter and the Tigers took a small one point lead into the final quarter.

For a game that had been so hard fought all day, players were going to tire and as a result, the game opened up in the last. The Tigers who had dominated in open-play all season took charge. Chloe Rahui had a strong last quarter around the contest and helped drive the the Tigers forward. BJ Murdoch and Izzy Goodwin combined well up forward who both finished with a goal.

The Tigers displayed the form they had all season and finished the game as 21 point winners.

It was a thrilling game of quality footy, fought in great spirit. Most fittingly, after four hard-fought quarters, the most noticeable thing about the players were the beaming smiles. And not only the players, but the spectators also rode every tackle, mark, kick and goal – and were all beaming as well. It was a credit to all involved – especially the players.

Final Score:
Tigers – 5.4: 34
Saints – 2.1: 13

Story – Wellington AFL

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