Sport

Northern Country Women’s League celebrates interleague success

By Alex Mitchell

At Deakin Reserve, the Northern Country Women’s League allowed just one goal after quarter-time, wrestling its way to a 6.4 (40) to 3.6 (24) win, avenging last year’s result where the Central Victoria Women’s Football League was victorious.

Central Victoria kicked the game’s first two goals and led by 10 points at the first break having kicked with a strong breeze, but the Northern Country unit lifted with the wind at its back, slotting four unanswered goals in the second term to head to half-time in front by 15 points.

Midfield magnificence was the story of the day and it meant the NCWL would not surrender its lead, clinging on for a 16-point triumph.

Co-coach Mick McInnes, who shared the duty with John Wilson, said making a statement in the trenches had provided the backbone of the win.

‘‘We were probably really hard in the contested footy, we really worked hard in that area,’’ McInnes said.

‘‘Last year they got the jump in that area, but this year it started for us right from the word go, we won the first clearance and kept winning the contested footy around the ground.

‘‘It was just awesome to see the midfield group work like that, especially considering they don’t usually play together.

‘‘I think the backs worked really well together and the forwards did as well, being able to kick a winning score. I think each line worked well, we had line coaches this year whereas last year it was just (Wilson) and I.’’

Shepparton’s Ash Thorneycroft was given best-on-ground honours but had plenty of help from her teammates, with Sharnah Stevens, Marni Bell (Nathalia), Kayla Shepherd (Mooroopna), Bree Davison (Shepparton) and Tayla Stewart (Echuca) completing the NCWL best.

Heidi Erasmus had proved one of the CVWFL’s most dangerous players, kicking two goals.

Reflecting on the experience, McInnes said it had again been a pleasure to be a part of, thanking the league and his players for the chance.

‘‘Just talking to everyone after the game, we all loved it,’’ he said.

‘‘We loved the step up in quality of football, we loved the opportunity to coach and the girls loved the opportunity to play.

‘‘They were all really appreciative of the opportunity and looking forward to doing it again next year. I felt the game went up another notch from last year, women’s football is getting better and better every year.’’