Burnside Heights’ dream first season in Essendon District Football League Women’s competition came to a heartbreaking end at the weekend.
The Bears, who have been one of the two standout teams, proved no match for the experienced Pascoe Vale which completed the perfect season, winning the grand final 8.7 (55)-0.0 (0).
It was an even first quarter on the scoreboard, but then the Panthers blew the game open in the second quarter – they kicked five goals, including three in four minutes to Sarah Theuma – putting the game squarely in their favour.
The Bears needed an early goal in the third quarter, but it wasn’t to be.
When the rain hit in the last quarter, the Bears switched players around, hoping to make a mark on the scoreboard.
The Panthers scored just two goals in the second half, but were able to keep the Bears scoreless to go on to claim the EDFL’s first women’s premiership.
Bears coach Brent Thomas said Pascoe Vale had been the better team all year.
“Experience shows,” he said. “For a first year side I’m ecstatic to get where we are.
“It’ll be a learning curve. Full credit to them.”
Thomas said no matter what the result, the Bears were always going to be winners, in their first season together.
He put no pressure on them before the game.
“I said they’ve already won the premiership.”
The group started training more than 12 months ago in preparation for this season.
“My first comment [at the beginning of the season] to the girls was I was happy to win a game and that would be wonderful.
“One became two, and two became three, and it was what it was. It’s a little bit of history for the club and I’m proud of that.”
Thomas said they were let down by a couple of poor quarters at the weekend.
He said nerves and a lack of experience got to them, as they didn’t play to their best during the middle quarters.
The day was compounded by injuries in the dying minutes, which led to two players being carried from the ground.
“The injuries hurt,” Thomas said.
“I asked the girls to put their body on the line, and they did that and showed the supporters and club, that they are for real.”
Thomas said Maria Afuhaamango, Sina Mason, Isabella Seychell, Brooke Annan-Coeat and Krissy Trang were the side’s best in the loss.
Pascoe Vale’s Jessica George was awarded the best on ground medal.
Three Bears players were named in the EDFL women’s team of the year – captain Kayla Ravenello and Krissy Trang and injured forward Brooke McKinley, who played just five games for the season.