Burnside Heights got out of jail against the Sunbury Kangaroos in the Essendon District Football League Women’s qualifying final on Sunday.

The Kangaroos pushed the Bears all the way, with the Bears not hitting the front until the last 10 minutes.

Once they hit the front, the Bears stayed there, winning 6.7 (43)-5.9 (39).

Bears coach Brent Thomas gave full credit to the Kangaroos.

“They put numbers behind the ball, which caught us out and they totally changed up their structures. We had to coach that game of football to win.”

Thomas said the biggest thing for his players was getting their mindset right when not necessarily playing their best.

He said it was the experienced players who stood up when it was required.

The Bears kicked the last two goals of the game and were able to keep the ball in their 50 after hitting the front.

“The Kangaroos came out of the blocks and we knew they would come after us,” Thomas said. “It was about belief.

“We really had to make some moves to counter that. We weren’t on our game today, so we had to fight through that game mentally, so full credit to my
girls.”

The other key was fitness, with the fruits of the Bears’ big pre-season on show.

Thomas said they didn’t really have any standouts, with all players doing what was needed.

“I don’t think we had a spectacular player,” he said

“Our top six players, our top-tier players, all made the one per centers happen – little, short handballs, creating opportunities and knowing where to run.

“I put one of my key forwards back and she knew the role straight away and what to do.”

The win means the Bears are through to the preliminary final and have a week off.

Thomas said the week off wasn’t necessarily a good thing, as the side had just come off a two-week break.

In the past four rounds, the Bears had two teams forfeit against them and then there was a bye before the finals.

Thomas said they would focus on staying together as a team before their next match.

The Bears will play Westmeadows or Aberfeldie, who will face each other in a semi-final.

“We were keen to play – we needed a game,” Thomas said.

“We were a little bit rusty, but hopefully we’ll be better physically and mentally.”