Kiwi Moana Hope had all the motivation in the world to kick a historic 100th goal for the season.
Of the 50-odd family and friends to pile into cars and a 25-seater bus for the trip to Seaford on Sunday, none meant more to the St Kilda Sharks spearhead and Collingwood’s marquee women’s league signing than her sick mother Rosemarie.
“It’s probably the first game she’s been able to come to in a very, very, very long time so to look over my right shoulder and see her, and go over and hug her after I kicked the 100th, that’s the moment that will be locked in my vault forever, so it was pretty exciting,” Hope told the Herald Sun.
“I love her dearly; she’s the closest person to me.”
It took little more than five minutes for the forward to ink her name in Women’s Victorian Football League history as the first to kick 100 goals in a season.
Not surprising, she also owned the previous best (87 goals) recorded in 2014.
A long bomb inside 50 was just what Hope had ordered, allowing her to work her opponent under the ball, mark, play on and kick the goal.
Sharks teammates got to her first, family and friends not far behind, before a hug for mum and impromptu Maori haka — performed by nine of her brothers and nephews — brought everyone to a halt.
“That gave me butterflies as well, and it was amazing of the boys to pull through and do that, so it was pretty exciting,” Hope said.
“(Mum Rosemarie) hasn’t been able to come down to any of my games in years due to her health.
“I’m just stoked that she got to share this moment with me on a personal note.”
The pep talks started well before the opening bounce, her disabled sister Vinny, who she cares for fulltime, getting in early.
“She was revving me up this morning saying if I didn’t kick it she was going to put me on the bench,” Hope said.
Hope finished with five goals and dished off a couple more in the 83-point win over Seaford.
“I knew (if we) played our style of game it will come, so it wasn’t something I was rushing out to do,” Hope said.
“I don’t care about (records), I just worry about playing my game, and if I play my game I should kick goals because that’s my role.”
As for going into next year’s AFL women’s league with a target on her back as the most prolific goalkicker in the country, Hope says bring it on.
“When it comes to that kind of stuff, I look forward to the challenge to be honest, and I don’t go out trying to kick 100 goals, I just go out trying to play my role,” Hope said.
Story: Herald Sun