Broadmeadow Magic 4-5 Warners Bay
Warners Bay will take on Newcastle Olympic the Herald Women’s Premier League grand final after a thrilling 5-4 win over Broadmeadow Magic on Saturday.
Panthers coach Craig Atkins described his side’s performance as a courageous effort as Warners Bay secured a memorable, action-packed win.
There were chances aplenty at Magic Park early as both sides turned on an expansive and attacking brand of football. The opening goal was the work of Warners Bay strike weapon Jen Hoy on the counterattack, with the former W-League player making no mistake from close range.
Lucy Jerram found an equaliser for the women in red before too long as Chelsea Lucas, Gemma Harrison and Kobie Ferguson tested the resolve of the Warners Bay defence.
The Panthers were again in the lead mid-way through the first half thanks to the final touch of Ellie Brown. Brown’s goal, set up by Hoy, gave the Panthers a 2-1 advantage.
Gemma Harrison and Jerram combined to set up Broadmeadow’s second before Kobie Ferguson found the back of the net to give the women in red a 3-2 advantage at the break.
The second half brought more action as Elodie Dagg played Hoy into space with a well-timed ball to Annika D’Amico making it simple from close range with the game level again.
The end-to-end action continued as Chelsea Lucas moved Magic a goal clear, only for D’Amico to again find an equaliser. Her free kick from distance too good for the Broadmeadow keeper.
Locked at 4-4 with just eight minutes remaining the game looked destined for extra-time, before a familiar name again stepped up for the Panthers, with Warners Bay’s fifth goal the work of Hoy.
A series of spectacular late saves by Warners Bay keeper Ally Boertje was enough for the Panthers to chalk up a memorable win.
“We’ve got that strong team ethic. You can see how close the girls are and what they’ve worked so hard for and it showed on Saturday,” Atkins said.
“That’s great character and grand final next week, anything can happen.
“All the girls listen really well and they’re characters and I think that makes a team and I think that’s now their belief. They’ve got that self-belief.”
“That’s what we’ve been trying to instil in them. A great team is better than two individuals and that’s now what I think we’re forming. Still lots to go but it’s an exciting time.”
The loss ended an otherwise successful year for Broadmeadow, who only returned to the competition at the start of the season. Magic finished the regular season second on the table, with 10 wins and a draw.
“When we kept it simple, we were really good but then we tried to over play it and turned it over way too much,” Magic coach Jake Curley said.
“4-3 up with 11 minutes to go, what can you do? Jen Hoy is fantastic.”
Warners Bay will head to the competition’s decider on a run of strong results, having not lost a game in six weeks.
“Our last loss was Olympic [in round 10]. The Thornton game, I said we need goals. If we’re going to make the semi-finals, we need goal difference. They went and delivered,” Atkins said.
“The Adamstown game, we weren’t there. Because we were already in. But for them to bounce back, massive win last week and that effort today, that’s second to none. That’s unbelievable.”
No team in Herald Women’s Premier League history has ever won the grand final after finishing fourth in the regular season, with Warners Bay also yet to edge out Newcastle Olympic in the regular season.
“We’re happy with the underdog tag and whatever happens next year, what a year, what an achievement. It’s a great thing for Warners Bay as a whole and hopefully we can just grow bigger and bigger from here,” Atkins said.
Please note: Given the restrictions still in place limiting the number of people in our venues to 500, Northern NSW Football will be implementing ticketing for all grades in the Grand Final.
For First Grade, tickets will cost $5 and must be purchased using an online link. Each team will be allocated 225 tickets. The link will not be available publicly and will be provided directly to clubs to ensure they can directly pass on to persons at their club.
Contact your club for more information.
The first grade grand final will be available to watch live on Bar TV and through the Herald Women’s Premier League Facebook page.