By Nick Creely
One of the most extraordinary aspects of Beaconsfield’s historic maiden premiership in the inaugural South East Women’s Division 2 season is the fact that only a quarter of the side had picked up – let alone kicked – a football before the start of 2017.
Months of dedication and hard work came to a sweet and emotional culmination when the Eagles defeated the previously undefeated Endeavour Hills to claim a stunning grand final win on Sunday at Casey Fields, 1.2(8) to 2.1(13).
“I’m very proud – the background of the girls and where they’ve come from is probably the biggest part of the story – I think we had eight out of our 25 girls that had played footy before so there have been a lot of new girls to the game,” Eagles coach Scott Hilton said.
“They’ve just blossomed and they’re all athletes who have come from so many different walks of life, whether that is basketball or netball – the best part of it is the friendships, they’ve bonded really well and they’re a close team.”
At three quarter time, the game truly hung in the balance, with the Falcons kicking their one and only goal in the third to draw level on 1.1 apiece heading into the final change.
Hilton explained how his side triumphed in a gripping final quarter that resulted in a match-winning goal to Amber Robinson.
“We wanted it to be a close game because Endeavour Hills are a really skilled side – we are a more of an intense, tackling team, and we thrive on packs and tackles – that was to the game plan and it went well,” he said.
“We were pretty confident that as long as the game stayed close, our tackling and intensity wasn’t going to drop at all – we managed to hold on for a great, memorable victory.
“We probably dominated a lot of the play – they used the football really well but we probably weren’t giving them the space – our defence had been the best all year with a very settled back six.”
There were stars everywhere you looked for the premiers, but reigning league best and fairest and Beaconsfield ruckman Samanatha Johnson capped off a memorable week with a best afield performance that delighted her coach.
“Our best-on-ground Sammie Johnson was a real highlight for me – coming from a basketball background and to also win the league best-and-fairest, it’s just remarkable,” Hilton said.
“I think she will in time (play at an elite level) – she’s very level-headed and a smart girl, and she wants to have one more year at Beaconsfield next year and then assess her options, but as a club we’d never stop anyone from going to a higher standard.”
In Division 1, Eastern Devils claimed the premiership after defeating St Kilda Sharks, 7.4(46) to 3.2(20) and Tyabb defeated Bass Coast in a thriller to win the South East Development flag, 4.4(28) to 4.5(29).