Women's BDAFL: Blues trio aim to back up soccer title with unique championship double

BIG WEEK: City's Sarah Halvorsen, Tayla Braithwaite and Jamee Ellis are set for their second grand final in a week. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers
BIG WEEK: City's Sarah Halvorsen, Tayla Braithwaite and Jamee Ellis are set for their second grand final in a week. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Last Sunday, Sarah Halvorsen, Tayla Braithwaite and Jamee Ellis proved pivotal in Merewether’s championship win in the Herald Women’s Premier League decider.

On Saturday, the three Newcastle City rookies hope to make it a double when they line up in the women’s Black Diamond AFL grand final.

Most people would be lucky to make one grand final in their career and Halvorsen, who scored a second-half hat-trick in Merewether’s stunning come-from-behind win over Warners Bay last weekend, said to be part of two in the space of seven days was “pretty special”.

“It’s pretty exciting and you wouldn’t get to do it very often,” Halvorsen said.

Halvorsen was in the Australian rugby sevens squad for the 2015 Pacific Games but decided to give Aussie Rules a go this winter instead of playing in the Hunter Women’s Rugby Union competition.

The 22-year-old sporting all-rounder has not looked back.

On Wednesday night she was one of six City players named in the BDAFL women’s team of the year.

Newcastle City coach Nathan Wilmott described Halvorsen as “a superstar” and said all three soccer players have been handy acquisitions this year.

City are poised to play Nelson Bay in the women’s grand final at No.1 Sportsground on Saturday.

It is the third year in a row the two sides have traded blows in the biggest game of the year.

City won the inaugural title and Nelson Bay staged an amazing fightback to secure last year’s crown.

But the Blues have been unstoppable this year and did not lose a game on their way to clinching the minor premiership.

The grand final rematch was a non-event in round 10, with City beating the Marlins 15.16 (106) to 3.3 (21).

When they met again in round 14 City won by 51 points.

Marlins player-coach Lauren Cooper watched the past two grand finals from the sideline due to injury and is “nervous but excited” about taking the field for her first ever championship match.

“I have watched my girls play two grand finals without me and that last one was pretty stressful, especially the last five minutes,” Cooper said.

“It’s been good to find my place back in the team this year.”

The 26-year-old said a strong start would be imperative on Saturday.

“I don’t think they’ve ever been trailing this year, so we need to go out and put the pressure on them,” she said.

Wilmott has warned his charges against resting on their laurels.

“It’s pretty easy to get complacent if you’re winning comfortably,” he said.

“I’ve been reinforcing that it only takes five or ten per cent of being off and it can change it all around.

“Finals games are a bit different and obviously being undefeated everyone is expecting us to win. 

“But we are definitely wary of them and are preparing for a very tough match.”

The women’s showdown starts at 4pm.