Bears deliver right on cue

September 06, 2017

Shepparton Notre's Youth Girls team responded from a second semi-final defeat to turn the tables in the grand final and beat Finley for the flag.

Shepparton Notre knew it had the talent to hoist the premiership flag on Sunday, executing on the field to revel in victory against Finley.

Building on the pain of last year’s grand final defeat at the hands of Mooroopna, the Bears were filled with determination to progress a step further.

Lining up against a Cats outfit who had beaten it just two weeks prior in the semi-final, Shepparton Notre again trailed at three-quarter time.

But despite being four points behind entering the final term, coach Leigh Egan remained convinced his side would experience Shepparton District Junior Football League youth girls success.

‘‘I didn’t think at any stage that we were in trouble,’’ Egan said.

‘‘You can just give them the best laid plans, but once the ball is bounced it’s up to them and I’m pleased they toughed it out.

‘‘It was actually a relief for the girls and me (when the final siren sounded) because we thought we were the better team all year and I think Finley showed their cards two weeks too early.’’

While the Cats had prevailed in the semi-final, they were unable to replicate the feat on a drizzly day at Deakin Reserve despite the efforts of Eloise Ashley-Cooper, Paige Nash and Hannah Stewart.

After an even tussle to begin the match, Shepparton Notre broke away to be leading at half-time.

Keeping Finley scoreless in the second term was pivotal as Egan applauded the tireless work of his back line.

‘‘I think everyone played well, we had a back line that held up well with Georgina Down, Amy Duguid and Emily Balaburov and also our half-backs were awesome with Lexi Andronaco, Tahlia Sleeth and Maya Ingham,’’ he said.

‘‘The back six were under pressure for a solid 10 minutes (in the third quarter) and really held fast.’’

Victoria Country representative Sophie Damon was powerful while driving attacking plays as Egan’s daughter Grace was also relentless.

Minor errors allowed the Cats to regain momentum in the third term, as Egan implored his side to focus on producing one final charge to end the season.

‘‘(The message was) just to persevere, a couple of the girls were upset because they’d made mistakes in the third quarter, but there was no time at this point (to dwell),’’ he said.

‘‘I said you can lie down on the sidelines for the rest of the day, but for the next 15 minutes stick to what we practiced.’’

Abby Favaro and Damon each snared a goal in the final quarter to help the side to victory with Egan pinpointing Maddy Baldwin as a future star.

As the majority of players are locked in to return for another season, the Shepparton Notre girls have the power to aim for back-to-back premierships.


Shepparton Notre: 1.2, 2.5, 2.5, 4.5 (29)

Finley: 1.3, 1.3, 2.9, 2.9 (21)


Shepparton Notre: Sophie Damon, Maddy Baldwin, Grace Egan, Ada Chessor, Amy Duguid, Sienna Sleeth.

Finley: Eloise Ashley-Cooper, Paige Nash, Hannah Stewart, Hayley Doohan, Ruby Stewart, Lauren Clarke.


Shepparton Notre: Abby Favaro, Maddy Baldwin, Grace Egan, Sophie Damon.

Finley: Rhiannon Murphy-Riddell, Hannah Stewart.

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