Newcastle City Stars defended their women’s Black Diamond AFL title with a 33-point grand final victory over Wyong Lakes at No.1 Sportsground on Saturday but captain Ash Hallyer did not feel at ease until early in the final quarter.
City, who have now captured three championships in the four seasons since the women’s competition began, led 0.3 (3) to 0.0 (0) at the first break, 2.6 (18) to 0.1 (1) at half-time and 2.9 (21) to 1.1 (7) at three-quarter time.
It was a goal from Tayla Braithwaite, who carried a back injury into the match, early in the last period which Hallyer felt gave the Stars some breathing space ahead of the 5.10 (40) to 1.1 (7) win over Lakes.
“We just plugged away and to be honest I never really felt comfortable because funny things can happen in finals, but after the goal from Tayla in the last quarter, I thought ‘We're OK now’,” Hallyer said.
Braithwaite picked up the Best on Ground Medal for her tireless effort in the midfield.
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Teammate Sarah Halvorsen was another stand-out performer, kicking a match-high two goals. Kristel Gavenlock and Stephanie Miniter also kicked goals for City while Lakes’ only one came in the third quarter through Rebecca Ives.
“I definitely believed we could get there but you just never know on grand final day. Finals do funny things,” Hallyer said.
“We definitely had a game plan and everyone did their bit. We've got people like Sarah Halvorsen who runs all day and the girls that I play with in the midfield just work really hard to make the tackles and put the pressure on.”
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