The Thuringowa Bulldogs have taken out the Townsville Women’s AFL Premiership with a physical 10-point win over the University Hawkettes at Tony Ireland Stadium on Wednesday night.
With the University side dominating the regular season, many expected it to be a one-sided affair. But it became apparent in the early minutes that a Hawks win was far from a foregone conclusion.
Both sides were committed to the contest from the onset, the slippery conditions causing the ball to get bogged down in the midfield.
It wasn’t until the last minute that the Dogs scored the first major to take a 7-point lead into quarter time.
Steph Clay, one of the best afield for the Hawks, scored their first major in the second to bring them within a point at half time.
Heading into the third, the word out of the Hawks huddle was to call on the run they had utilized all year to break the game open with two or three quick goals.
The message seemed prophetic, as the ball remained locked in their forward-50 for the majority of the quarter before a soccered goal saw them hit the lead.
A crucial final entry in the dying minutes of the term, a skimming ball that went past at least five sets of hands, gave the Dogs a goal to keep them within a point of the Hawks.
The scene was set for an edge-of-the-seat final term, but momentum swung to the Dogs when a visibly frustrated Hawks outfit coughed up a 50-metre penalty that resulted in a go-ahead goal.
The key differentiator in the end was the Bulldogs ability to hit targets late in the game, allowing them to take stock and gain metreage; something the Hawks had struggled to do all night.
Delma Gisu was named Best-on-Ground for a performance scattered with moments of great skill and sheer athleticism.
Post-match, coaches Michael Harney and Peter Picknell spoke of the growth of their sides, the league and the wonderful support AFL Townsville AFL had provided to make the competition that much stronger.
FINAL SCORE: THURINGOWA BULLDOGS 4.2.26 def. UNIVERSITY HAWKETTES 2.4.16
By Mitchell Datson