Newport will occasionally share its crown, but not two years in a row.
The Porters were hellbent on rising back to the top of the Lacrosse Victoria women’s state league after ceding ground to Footscray 12 months ago.
The two powerhouse teams, laden with Australian representatives, have met in the past 13 state league grand finals, with the Porters coming out on top 11 times.
Featuring in its 45th consecutive grand final, Newport returned to the summit on Saturday with a gritty 7-5 win over Footscray in the grand final on home soil at PJ Lynch Reserve.
Porters president Hayley Sofarnos was elated.
“We’ve played them 13 times in a row in grand finals and now won 11 – it’s a pretty crazy statistic,” Sofarnos said.
“Last year definitely stuck in our mind. It was a good driver for us this season.”
One of the best rivalries in western suburbs sport is borne out of mutual respect.
The two sides play it hard on the field, but rarely is there spite. A common post-game theme when these sides meet is the winning side acknowledging the opposition players, because they are usually such hard-fought encounters.
That sort of high-level competition made the premiership win even sweeter for Newport.
“We love playing against them because we know it’s going to be such an incredible game,” Sofarnos said. “It’s such a strong, but healthy rivalry.
“They’re such a formidable opponent, it’s almost an element of relief … so it means so much more when we win.”
Newport captain Rachel Kirchheimer was named the game’s most valuable player.
Kirchheimer was incredibly important at both ends of the field for the Porters.
“It was a captain’s game – the one per centers, put a couple of goals in, made a few stops; she was just incredible,” Sofarnos said.
“She’s just the best leader any team could have the privilege of having on their side.
“She’s represented England three times and was then vice-captain of Australia at the last World Cup since she became an Australian citizen.”
Just as important in the Newport victory was goalkeeper Bree Hussey.
Hussey has made a habit of rising to the occasion in big games for the Porters.
“She is born for finals,” Sofarnos said. “She always steps up in big games. Today she was pulling out stops that even we couldn’t believe.”
Strong Footscray defence forced Newport to find various avenues to goal.
Kirchheimer and Elise Hussey threw in two goals each, while Taylah Comeadow, Whitney Jennings and Stacey Morlang also found the back of the net.
“They played tagging roles on Rachel and Stacey, so we knew we couldn’t try and go through them, even if we wanted to,” Sofarnos said.
“That’s when everyone else stepped up around them, as we hoped they would.
“It really was an all-round team performance.”
Danelle Mollison was Footscray’s most dangerous attacking player with two goals.
Stella Justice-Allen, the Bulldogs’ answer to Kirchheimer, had an influence all over the field.
Newport celebrated long and hard into the night at its clubrooms on Sunday before its traditional Mad Monday featured a number of out-there Aussie icon costumes.