Port Melbourne are the 2023 VFLW Premiers!!
By Gabby Woods on August 1, 2023
Port Melbourne has created history by being the first ever Port Melbourne VFLW team to win a Grand Final. They defeated Collingwood 5.5.35 to 3.5.23 on their home deck at ETU Stadium on Sunday.
Unfortunately, Laura Wright tore her ACL at training during the week which put her out for the Grand Final, however this opened the door for Kate Adams who was able to fill her spot and get her own chance at a premiership win.
Lauren Caruso was awarded the ‘Lisa Hardeman’ medal for her dominant best on ground display. Caruso gained 22 possessions, 11 tackles and two marks for the game earning her right as the player of the match. Emily Harley was also dominant once again with 13 disposals and 5 marks, proving to be quite dangerous inside forward 50. Kaitlyn O’Keefe was a tackling machine with 14 for the day, her display of hunger for the ball has complimented the Borough’s defensive pressure all season.
Isobel Hartog found the Sherrin 12 times during the match and had a nice 12 tackles to go along with it. Courteney Bromage also had a good day out with 11 disposals and 10 tackles. Port Melbourne kicked five goals for the day with one each going to Georgia Alomes, Courteney Bromage, Frederica Frew, Nayely Borg and Beth Wilson.
As soon as the clock started for the first quarter it was on. Collingwood were able to kick the first goal of the game in the first 90 seconds through a set shot from Caitlin Sargent. However, Alomes was able respond quickly and kicked a goal on the run to even up the score line in the first five minutes of play. Port Melbourne’s next goal came through Bromage from an inside fifty entry off the boot of Alice Campbell, Campbell surged the kick from the boundary to the top of the goal square. Bromage smartly stayed at the back of the pack and waited for the ball to spill out, she then kicked it off the ground over the line to secure another six points for the Borough.
It was a fierce second quarter with both teams struggling to find their way inside fifty. Nayely Borg had a standout second term, Borg was everywhere from kicking inside fifty entries to marking it in the forward line and executing for a goal. One passage of play saw Borg gain an intercept possession and surge the ball forward to hit up Emily Harley on the run. Harley then perfectly placed the ball on the chest of a leading Borg who was able to secure the first major of the second quarter. Collingwood were then able to respond and kicked their second goal for the game at the 17-minute mark. The Borough went into half time up 3.2.20 to Collingwood 2.4.16.
Maggie McKellar was pivotal for Port’s backline, lining up on Collingwood forward Nyakoat Dojiok. McKellar took a strong contested mark on her opponent to set the tone for the Borough for the second half. Caruso capitalised on her already dominant performance by sticking a tackle, and gaining a free kick against Collingwood forward Evangelia Nikolitis, this lifted the Borough intensity they had already been showing the whole match. Collingwood kicked the opening goal of the second half to put them up by just two points. Maggie McKellar once again stood tall against Dojiok when she took another contested mark inside Collingwood’s forward fifty, ruining any chance of a set shot. Frew kicked Port’s next major for the quarter after she received a strategic handball from an on the run Jessie Williams, this put the Borough up by four points leading into the last break.
The game was still undecided at the beginning of the last term, with only four points separating the two teams. Determination was not lacking in the last quarter as Caruso laid another crucial tackle in Collingwood’s forward fifty to gain possession of the footy. The play of the day came within the last two minutes of the game. Stutt was able to gather the ball off a bounce, composed herself and executed a perfect inside fifty entry to Emily Harley who was about 40 metre out on a slight angle, the kick was perfect but just fell short of the goals, luckily Wilson was able to out jump her opposition and take a spectacular pack mark five meters out from goal. Wilson kicked the goal for the Borough, securing them the premiership.
As the siren sounded Port Melbourne were the VFLW Premiers of 2023, they defeated minor premiers Collingwood by 12 points on their home deck.
Collingwood 3.5 23 def by 5.5 35 Port Melbourne