Unbeatable: Wollongong Lions cap off perfect 2023
Journalist: Dan O’Bryan
The Wollongong Lions have completed the perfect season going undefeated as they secured their second consecutive AFL South Coast Women’s Premier Division flag, defeating the Figtree Saints by seven points.
The game was very evenly contested in the early stages of the first quarter with no score being registered until the 5-minute mark, a point to the Lions. It didn’t take long after this for Lions’ forward Lola Sossai to get on the end of some brilliant midfield work. Her set shot was the first goal of the day, before quickly striking again, Shanae Flower playing on from a mark and snapping truly.
The second term started with repeat forward entries to the Lions, but the Figtree defence were uncompromising, intercepting and rebounding strongly. The Saints’ midfield then began to get things on their terms, led by Caitlin Williams who found plenty of the football across the ground. Amelia Martin won a one-on-one contest to kick the first of the day for Figtree. With the game in the balance, Figtree forward Ashlee Maddern marked strongly and kicked a goal with just a minute remaining in the half to bring the score to 2.2 (14) to 2.0 (12) in favour of the Lions.
Both teams came into the third quarter strongly, with the ball moving from end to end quickly, but neither could capitalise on the scoreboard. As the quarter progressed, the Lions began to get on top in the midfield battle, led by midfielders Charlee McPherson and Kirsty Phillpot. This dominance led to Shanae Flower kicking her second of the day, and the team’s first for the term.
The Lions went into the last break holding onto a nine-point lead. It was Figtree who were creating more scoring chances to begin the fourth quarter, but their two early shots lead to two behinds. The Lions wrestled some momentum back, but Figtree’s defenders were once again intercepting many of their forward entries. The final score was 3.4 (22) to 2.3 (15) in favour of the Lions, and Charlee McPherson was named best on ground.