The Calder Cannons’ premiership dreams were dashed when they fell short against a strong Northern Knights line-up in the NAB League Girl’s grand final.
The younger Cannons side went into the game as underdogs on Saturday, but were full of confidence having upset the Geelong Falcons in the preliminary final.
But there wasn’t going to be an upset this time round, with the Knights switched on from the start.
A three goal to none first quarter would prove to be the difference with the Knights winning 6.3 (39)-0.6 (6).
Cannons coach Paul Tilley said in the end they were beaten by a better team.
“They were clearly the best side in it,” he said.
“They set the standard and the standard has gone up considerably from what it was last year.
“We’ve got quite a few young girls who played today. They will step up next year.”
Tilley said there was some nerves early, but in the end it was the Knights that settled first.
He said being behind on the scoreboard created some extra pressure.
“If you look at the stats, we matched them in pretty much everything else except on the scoreboard [after quarter-time].
“The scoreboard pressure … that adds to the perceived pressure as well.
“It just mounts up and mounts up.
“Scores we would normally get, we didn’t get them and that’s football.
“They [Knights] dealt with the pressure a lot better than we did.”
Tilley said skipper Georgia Patrikios was clearly their best player in her last game for the Cannons.
Patrikios had 24 possessions, the most of any player on the ground.
Georgie Prespakis, who had 20 possessions, was the other standout for the Cannons.
She was one of several players thrown around after half-time as the Cannons tried to get back into the game.
“She copped a fair bit out there today and she stood up to it really well and kept her cool and kept going,” Tilley said.
“They have been standouts for most of the year.”
While the Cannons didn’t come away with the premiership, the development within the squad have been fantastic.
The Cannons took a young side into the grand final, in a good sign going forward.
Tilley said the future is bright for the Cannons and female football.
“We’ve got probably seven or eight girls that will be here for the next two years.
“It bodes well for them and for the Cannons. We’re not the only ones, all the clubs have about the same mix of youth.
“Give this competition five years… The girls that are playing women’s football now, they won’t be playing as these girls will take there spots.
“It’s getting better every year.”
Meanwhile, six Cannons have been named in the Vic Metro under-16 squad for the national championships.
Neve Crowley, Tahlia Gillard, Kasey Lennox, Peppa Poultney, Georgie Prespakis and Emelia Yassir have been named in the squad of 25 for the championships.
It comes on top of three players being named in the under-18 squad.