The Northpark NFLW finals series begun in incredible fashion, with week one offering high quality matches and close results at Bill Lawry Oval.
Preston City Oval will host the semi finals this weekend, with the second semi finals taking place on Saturday, and the first semi finals on Sunday.
In Division 1, Diamond Creek Women’s overcame VU Western Spurs 4.9 (33) to 4.3 (27) in nail-biting qualifying final that went to extra time.
With much of the play in VU Western Spurs’ forward line for the opening half, the Spurs kicked two goals, while managing to hold the Creekers to just three minor scores and took an 11-point lead into half time.
The Creekers came out firing in the third quarter, kicking an early goal before the Spurs hit back with a major of their own. However, Emma Fraser delivered the Creekers a goal from a tight angle on the three quarter time siren to bring her side within four points.
An early fourth quarter goal to Diamond Creek gave it the lead, but despite holding much of the play, the Creekers’ were unable to put the match away, as the Spurs tied the scoreboard with a goal.
With the match tied at full time, the teams headed into extra time that included two five-minute halves.
The first half of extra time saw no score. As the minutes ticked down in the second half, it looked as though the teams may again remain deadlocked before an outstanding pack mark in the goal square by Emma Fraser secured the Creekers the victory in thrilling circumstances.
Jacqueline Graham and Alexandra Morcom were pivotal in getting the Creekers across the line, while Ashleigh Stonehouse and Emily Stanyer were excellent for the Spurs.
Diamond Creek keeps the double chance heading into the second week of the finals and will now face Bendigo in the second semi final, with the winner to book the first place in the grand final.
Melbourne University advanced into week two of the finals with an 8.8 (56) to 2.3 (15) victory over Kew in the elimination final.
The Mugars opened the match with two goals and 10-point quarter time lead and two second quarter goals from Kira Price extended the Mugars’ lead to 25 points by half time.
The Bears hit back with goals from Esther Potts and Shaylee Taylor midway through the third term, but a Melbourne University goal late in the term ended the Bears’ run and the Mugars were able to run out 41-point winners.
Elizabeth Keaney and Kira Price (three goals) were fantastic for the Mugars, while Lily Barr and Jessica Burger were the best performing Bears – who bowed out of the finals with the defeat.
Melbourne University will now turn its attention to the first semi final against VU Western Spurs, who it defeated in the final round of the regular season.
In Division 2, West Preston-Lakeside moved into the second semi final by defeating Darebin 4.3 (27) to 2.5 (17) in Saturday’s qualifying final.
West Preston-Lakeside burst out of the blocks, creating a 19-point buffer by half time.
In a fantastic display, the Roosters created plenty of scoring opportunities, while holding Darebin goalless until the final term, where Sophie Boyden and Laura O’Malley managed to kick the Falcons only two goals of the match.
Jessica Bamblett and Monique Dematteo carried their superb form into the finals for the Roosters, while Nikola Deiter and Kristin Stensholt were great for the Falcons.
West Preston Lakeside will now match-up against VU Western Spurs in the second semi final. Their last clash went down to the wire, with the Spurs winning by just four points.
Kew kept its season alive with a 3.7 (25) to 2.3 (15) victory over Montmorency in the elimination final.
The Bears got off to a flying start, with goals from Roisin Lambert and Laura Ayres giving them a two-goal lead by quarter time.
The Magpies responded within the first minute of the second term via an exceptional long-range goal from Madison Bayes and took the lead after Crista Ashby delivered a goal via an inspired snap.
However, the Bears stole back a four-point lead before half time thanks to Lambert’s second goal.
In the third quarter, the Bears had plenty of opportunities to extend their break but only managed seven behinds, with slippery conditions a factor. Both teams were then held scoreless in a final term played between the arcs, as the Bears came away 10-point victors.
Jessica North and Vanessa Webb excelled for the Bears, while Amanda Steidle and Lauren Dow were strong performers for the Magpies. Kew will now head to Preston City Oval on Sunday to face Darebin in the first semi final.