AN incredible defensive effort has helped Bathurst Giants to victory over the Dubbo Demons in the 2022 AFL Central West women's grand final on Saturday.
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Held at George Park 2, neither team failed to score a point in the opening quarter, but a second term onslaught - which saw the Giants score three of its four majors - proved the difference in a 4-10-34 to 0-1-1 win.
Giants skipper Katie Kennedy was overwhelmed with emotion after the final siren went off, which confirmed a third consecutive women's premiership for her club.
"That was absolutely was amazing," she said.
"I don't think any points were scored in the first quarter, so we went into the second quarter thinking this is where we'll attack.
"We felt very sleepy in the first quarter, but I think that second quarter was where we really made our move. We had the wind, it was going crazy, but we held on."
While the score line wasn't damaged at all in the first quarter, it was far from a boring contest.
Dubbo started the game like a house of fire and went into its tackles hard, preventing the Giants from building any sustained cohesion.
But just under halfway through the second quarter, the match had its first point when a behind was scored and not long after Giants goal machine Olivia Johnston scored her first of three majors.
She booted her second not long after and another goal from Elise Gullifer had the Giants up by 19 points at the break.
Johnston scored early on in the third quarter, the last major of the match.
Dubbo would finally break its scoring drought early on in the final quarter, when a behind was kicked.
With the scores locked at nil-all after the first quarter, Kennedy said that was a testament to how well the Demons started.
"They came out and they really wanted it," she said.
"That's when we realised we needed to make our move. We had the wind in the second quarter and we took advantage of it."
Kennedy was full of praise for Olivia Johnston, who booted three of the Giants four goals.
"She's been absolutely unreal all season," she said.
"To get two goals in a grand final is absolutely amazing. I think in the regular season she got 41 goals. She should be so proud of herself."
Dubbo coach Peter Martinoli said he was proud of his team's effort.
"It's really hard to lose a grand final but the way the girls conducted themselves across the whole four quarters, they never gave up," he said.
"Even when they looked like they might be out of it, they didn't gave up and I couldn't be more proud of that."
While the Demons were unable to lift the premiership trophy, they will take some solace that they defeated the Giants twice during the regular season.
"There was always that believe from round one that we could do it," he said.
"To be able to knock them off a couple of times throughout the year, it really gave us some momentum and belief that we could do it again."
The match umpires awarded the best of ground award to Giants' Molly McCrossin.
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