The LadyHawks made it through to their first ever Grand Final after an outstanding season saw them finish second before comfortably accounting for St Mary’s in the Preliminary final.
In the season decider they took on Nth Geelong, a Women’s football powerhouse who have been undefeated for three consecutive years and won the past two Div 1 premierships. It was always going to be a massive challenge but with an almost full strength side Drysdale were ready to give it their best shot.
A large crowd had gathered at Lara oval with the underdogs enjoying the majority of the support. Many families travelled hours, even interstate to watch their daughters, granddaughters, mothers, sisters, nieces or aunts. The Drysdale Ladyhawks were backed by the club’s committee members, senior coaching staff and players, all showing their support during the match.
The first three quarters were a gripping arm wrestle with Drysdale displaying a new level of physicality & desperation. The normally high scoring Nth Geelong had been held to just 3 goals & kept goalless in the 3rd quarter while kicking with the wind. Unfortunately Drysdale had failed to register a major of their own despite several opportunities. The stage was set.
The focussed Ladyhawks took to the field in the last quarter knowing the win was in reach but needing a miracle. They threw caution to the wind stacking the forward line and filling the midfield with their best clearance winners. End to end, high intensity football had the crowd screaming with raw emotion as Drysdale made several forward fifty entries. Unfortunately, the Ladyhawks couldn’t quite capitalise from these opportunities & despite keeping the Magpies goalless once more the final score was North Geelong 3.8.26 to Drysdale 0.1.1.
Although the day was not to be theirs, there was a feeling of pride amongst the players and supporters. The Ladyhawks had given it their all and gained the respect of the league.
The emotion on the day was huge. Coach Stuart Craven said, “It was the best game we have played in 3 years of competition, everyone played their hearts out and we couldn’t be prouder”.
Drysdale’s best players included the Captain, Prue Davies, who repeatedly repelled opposition attacks with countless intercept marks. Gabby Deller was unstoppable, willing herself to contest after contest while Tanacha Saunders worked tirelessly all over the ground. Laura Taylor dominated defensively, shutting down one of the leagues’ most damaging forwards while Tash Eliston, Erin Dodd, Mel Egan & Rochelle Gant all had a huge impact. Everyone played their role executing the team plan perfectly & suffocating the opposition with relentless pressure.
The Drysdale Women’s Football team would like to thank the club, supporters and sponsors for all their support throughout the year
The focus immediately turns to next season with recruiting already underway. Players with speed & height will be targeted as the athleticism of the stronger teams proved challenging this year. With most of the current list committing for next year it will only take a couple of quality additions for the club to be a serious Premiership contender in 2020.
The club will also be working tirelessly in the off-season to increase its’ profile & encourage greater participation rates. If you are interested in playing the world’s greatest game at a progressive, supportive & inclusive club please contact Senior coach Stuart Craven on 0417 010 364.