Bathurst Giants women qualify for the Central West AFL grand final

AN already remarkable maiden Central West AFL women’s season got even better for the Bathurst Giants on Saturday as the side booked its place in the grand final.

ONE MORE TO GO: The Bathurst Giants are one win away from securing the Central West AFL premiership in their maiden season after upsetting the Lady Bushrangers in the preliminary final. Photo: PHIL BLATCH

ONE MORE TO GO: The Bathurst Giants are one win away from securing the Central West AFL premiership in their maiden season after upsetting the Lady Bushrangers in the preliminary final. Photo: PHIL BLATCH

And they did it by downing the Bathurst Lady Bushrangers – a powerhouse outfit which had won every premiership flag since the introduction of the women’s league – 4-2-26 to 3-1-19.

It was a preliminary final result Giants coach Liz Kennedy ‘never expected’ but as she stood on the sodden, muddy turf of Orange’s Waratahs at full-time she was delighted.

“It was unbelievable, absolutely,” she said.

“We scored early and it was just a hard slog after that. The conditions suited us better because it was scrappy, it was a real dogfight and that’s how we play.

“Bushrangers play that very structured game – they kick, they mark, they handball – everything they do sticks. We are a new club, we don’t take all of our marks, so we have got to go and fight for the ball all the time.

“That’s what it was, the girls played amazing wet weather footy. So I just think the conditions really favoured us.”

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Though the heavy rain favoured the Giants, the side still had to produce one of its best efforts of the season to get the job done.

Sophie Dixon gave her side a 12-point lead at the first break and after the Bushrangers fought back to lock it up heading into the final term, the Giants lifted again.

They rallied in defence, holding the Bushrangers scoreless, while Dixon booted her third major of the contest to get the Giants over the line. They will met Dubbo in this Saturday’s grand final.

“The message at quarter-time was that the score was nil-all and we had to start again. I said the same thing at half-time, it was ‘Let’s keep going’,” Kennedy said.

“At three-quarter-time the scores were even, so I told them ‘It’s back to zero, it’s up to you now. I’ve done all I can to help you – the little that I know – but if you want to play next week, you have to go out there for 15 minutes and give it your all.’ All 23 of my players went out there and did that.”

BATHURST GIANTS 4-2-26 (Sophie Dixon 3, Elise Gullifer) defeated BATHURST LADY BUSHRANGERS 3-1-19 (Taylor Webb, Lauren Grundy, Allison Hundy)

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