Historic win for Finley youth girls team
Finley Wildcats made history on Sunday as the first youth girls football team from the Southern Riverina to win a premiership.
The Wildcats defeated Shepparton United by 20 points in the Shepparton and District Junior Football League Youth Girls grand final, played on United’s home turf at Deakin Reserve.
The Wildcats were able to avenge their grand final loss to Shepparton Notre in 2017 by taking the 2018 flag.
The star of the game for the Wildcats was Eloise AshleyCooper who kicked the first goal and went on to be named best on ground.
Despite a leveller from United, the Wildcats were able to kick away in the first quarter with goals from Sammy Rourke and Mikayla Jones. It enabled them to take a 16 point lead into quarter time.
The only goal for the second quarter came from United, bringing the score to 3.7 (25) to 2.0 (12) in favour of the Wildcats at half time.
The only goal in the second half came from the boot of the league’s leading goal kicker Olivia Cicolini.
Despite a little bit of inaccurate kicking in front of goal, the strong start by Finley proved the difference.
Final score, Finley 4.9 (33) to Shepparton 2.1 (13).
Among the best for Finley were Dora Miaoudis, Lily Sharp, Hayley Doohan, Mikayla Jones, Holly Robinson and Paris Crelley.
Wildcats coach Jorja Daniel said she was impressed with the team performance.
She said she only needed to use last year’s loss as inspiration at three quarter time.
‘‘You could have tossed a coin for best on ground between Dora and Eloise,’’ Daniel said.
‘‘Everyone played a part in the game and it might have been as simple as taking a big mark at some stage.
‘‘It was a great effort considering Shepparton United had a strong contingency of fans there.
‘‘The win is fantastic for women’s football in the area; the girls are fantastic and some of them come from Deniliquin, Berrigan, Jerilderie, Hay and Leeton.
‘‘This win shows what the girls can do and hopefully inspires more young girls to join.
‘‘Maybe one day we can form our own league so we don’t need to travel so far most weeks.’’
Daniel thanked Paul Evans, Cam Isedale, Jodie Cicolini, the Finley Football Club and the players for a great season.
The Wildcats team members celebrating the win in the rooms after the match.