The Calder Cannons booked a ticket to the 2019 NAB League Girls grand final after comfortably cruising past the Geelong Falcons in the preliminary final last Saturday at Shepley Oval.
The 7.4 (46) to 1.5 (11) triumph means the undefeated Northern Knights await at IKON Park this Saturday – where the two will do battle in the final game of the year at 2pm.
Calder was able to maintain possession across the field and deny Geelong any access forward for the majority of the contest, while their pressure (83 tackles – their highest tackle-count of the season) was also crucial in the final result.
The collective buy-in from the entire playing group impressed the coaches and supporters on the day.
Captain Georgia Patrikios’ drive through the middle of the ground (29 touches and six inside 50s) paved the way for her side’s forward entry flurry in Dandenong, while one of the league’s best tacklers, Alana Barba, was again a stand out in the clinches laying 13 tackles.
Three goals in the opening 10 minutes of the game to Alisa Magri, Emelia Yassir and Barba helped set up an early 20-point lead to the Cannons.
And from there they were hardly challenged.
The momentum continued – albeit with less scoreboard impact – as the Cannons went into the main break with a 19-point lead.
Impressively, the away side never rested on their laurels. A goal within two minutes of the second half to Zoe Hardiman was the only major of the premiership quarter.
Knowing the Falcons wouldn’t give up, the Cannons continued to put the foot down in the final stanza.
Hardiman’s second meant the grand final was all but finalised, before Magri put the nail in the coffin with a quick snap in the dying seconds.
The massive win means the Cannons now have the chance to claim their second premiership.
“Every single player played their role for the team and that’s what gives us this chance that we have,” Girls Talent Coordinator Russell Humphrey said.
“If we can play with the same intensity we applied in the Geelong game then we will give ourselves a chance to win this weekend.
“We’re all looking forward to it – the players, the coaching staff and all of the parents.”