A dominant opening half performance set up Inner Western Suburbs to be crowned the 2016 DOOLEYS Metro League Division 5 Champions, emerging 47-32 victors over Hills District.
While their opposition came out fighting in the second half – Hills outscoring the eventual winners 21 goals to 17 – the damage had already been done with Inner West running out to a 15-goal win.
It was a dream start from Hills who scored the opening three goals, but unfortunately it couldn’t be sustained as Inner West recovered from their shaky start to take the lead after five minutes’ play. Facing a relentless defence, Hills found it difficult to find an easy path into their attacking third which in turn starved their shooters of opportunities.
Inner West soon found their confidence and with that came a run of goals as they soon forced their opposition into chase mode. Despite their best efforts, Hills District went into the first break facing a 10-goal deficit.
While the margin may have proved disheartening, credit should be given to Hills District who continued to bring the contest to Inner West. The players threw themselves into every 50/50 ball, with Goal Keeper Rebecca Vale leading the charge.
But they had few answers for Inner West’s strong defensive pressure, which began from the attacking third, throughout the court. This relentless pressure resulted in a number of turnovers which the Minor Premiers did well to consolidate on the scoreboard, with a goal on the half-time whistle seeing Inner West lead by 19 goals at the big break.
A rejuvenated Hills entered the court at the start of the second half by outscoring their opponents six goals to one in the opening five minutes for a much-needed confidence boost. The switch in momentum brought Hills fans into full voice as they willed their side to keep the fight up.
The change in fortunes shocked Inner West, who were unable adjust to the change in momentum; managing just four goals in 10 minutes. But as the clock counted down towards the final break the game again slipped into a more even contest – Hills managing to outscore Inner West by five goals, but still facing a 14-goal deficit.
While Hills can take courage from their third quarter performance, the game belonged to Inner West whose defensive stronghold on the game set up their win. While their opposition continued to fight until the dying seconds, Inner west held strong to claim the 2016 Champions title.
INNER WEST | Q1: 16 – Q2: 30 (14) – Q3: 39 (9) – Q4: 47 (8)
HILLS DISTRICT | Q1: 6 – Q2: 11 (5) – Q3: 25 (14) – Q4: 32 (7)
INNER WEST: 47/66 @ 71%
HILLS DISTRICT: 32/42 @ 76%
INNER WEST | GS Danita Brunt, GA Simone Hickman, WA Kathleen Land, C Peri Maniakis, WD Amy Mikhael, GD Isabella Rankin, GK Cassandra Robinson
HILLS DISTRICT | GS Caitlin Knight, GA Deanna Campbell, WA Renee Trumper, C Laura Dodds, WD Nina Rigor, GD Olivia Buley, GK Rebecca Vala