Women's AFL: Newcastle City unbeaten on way to securing championship crown

Newcastle City capped an outstanding season by overpowering defending champions Nelson Bay 10.11 (71) to 1.6 (12) in the Women’s Black Diamond Cup AFL grand final at No.1 Sportsground on Saturday.

It was the third time in as many years since the competition started that the two sides traded blows in the championship decider.

City captured the inaugural crown before the Marlins staged a stunning fightback to win in 2016.

But the Blues, who were unbeaten all year, were always in control on the scoreboard on Saturday.

It took minutes before Newcastle City captain Audrey Gillingham kicked the first goal of the game. Nelson Bay skipper Lisa Steane responded directly by kicking a long goal but it was to be the Marlins’ only six-pointer of the game.

The Blues led 3.2 (20) to 1.4 (10) at the first break, 6.5 (41) to 1.6 (12) after a damaging second period then 7.10 (52) to 1.6 (12) heading into the last quarter.

Taylah Smith, Sarah Halvorsen and Ashlee Hayllar all scored two goals for City. Tayla  Braithwaite, Paige Mathewson and Meaghan MacDonald were the other scorers.

The win came six days after Halvorsen, Braithwaite and City teammate Jamee Ellis played key roles in Merewether clinching the Herald Women’s Premier League title.

Best on Ground was City’s Erin White.

City coach Nathan Wilmott was “super proud” of his charges.

“The first quarter was really tight so I said to the girls at quarter time, ‘Are we happy with how we played?’,” Wilmott said.

“They all said no, so they went out in the second quarter and they scored three goals, two again but held them to two points and they didn’t score again.

“They are a great bunch of girls, who have been a pleasure to coach this year.”

Nelson Bay player-coach Lauren Cooper was disappointed but said the game was “well-fought”.

“I don’t think the scoreboard reflected how we played, we just didn’t convert enough goals,” Cooper said.

“But the pressure was that hard and their sweepers in their back line were just getting it straight out.”