A brave Burnside Heights has hung on against Westmeadows to return to the winners’ list in Essendon District Football League Women’s premier division.

The Bears finished with just 16 players on the field, following two serious injuries, but stuck strong to beat the Tigers 4.5 (29)-3.2 (20).

Bears coach Jeff Stevens said it had been a hard couple of weeks for the Bears, who faced Keilor the previous week.

He praised the focus of the playing group, despite having two players leave the ground via ambulance.

In the past two weeks, the Bears haven’t had a bench, while their opposition has.

“It was a tough match, but it was really good to get the four points,” he said.

“We had about 16 players left at the end of the game.

“They came back at us towards the end. We were struggling towards the end of the game and the girls were all pretty tired.”

Maria Afuhaamango kicked two goals for the Bears, while Ebony Stevens was their best.

Jeff Stevens said he was pleased with how Tori Russell performed in her first game.

He said they were still unsure how bad the injuries were to Brooke McKinley and Brittany Ward.

McKinley, who entered the round the division’s leading goal scorer, hurt the knee she injured in the corresponding round last season. She was ruled out for the rest of that season.

Stevens said McKinley’s knee was still too swollen to do scans.

Ward suffered an ankle injury and appears to have torn some ligaments.

Stevens said the side’s fighting spirit was impressing him.

The Bears are second with a 4-1 record.

“Everyone is still putting in,” he said. “Even against Keilor, we kept them goal-less in the last quarter and we were able to carry that into the next round.”

Burnside Heights will this week face Hillside, which is fifth on the ladder.

The Sharks beat Strathmore 4.16 (40)-3.2 (20) on Saturday.

“It’s going to be a struggle this week with less numbers and it’s going to be a tough game,” Stevens said.