Gisborne has snuck home in an elimination final against Bacchus Marsh for a second straight year in the AFL Goldfields Women’s competition.
Having beaten the Cobras by three points last season in the corresponding game, the Bulldogs this time got the job done by four points on Sunday.
The final scoreline was 6.2 (38)-5.4 (34).
Gisborne coach Jason Peak said he was nervous as the last quarter unfolded.
“I need a stiff drink after that,” he said. “We were in front for most of the game. They kicked three goals in the first 10 minutes of the last quarter and got in front.
“We managed to kick the last two goals. There were plenty of nerves.
“I said to them after the game, the first 10 minutes of the last quarter was their worst football and the second 10 minutes of the last quarter was their best football.”
Peak said the football wasn’t pretty, with the weather turning wet early and the match becoming a bit of a slog.
“We were able to put our head over the ball and do it for longer than them,” he said.
Peak said it was a team performance that got the Bulldogs over the line.
Kirrily Mitchell, Stephanie Larsen, Stephanie Brancatisano and Marilyn Elder were the standouts.
Elder kicked the Bulldogs’ final two goals.
Peak said the Cobras would have been disappointed to go down in similar circumstances to those of last year.
“That’s two years in a row it’s been decided by a kick,” he said. “Last year, they had a kick after the siren and missed it.
“They would be disappointed, that’s for sure.”
The Bulldogs will face Melton Centrals in a knockout semi-final after Centrals suffered a big loss at the hands of East Point.
East Point will play Redan for a spot in the grand final.
Peak said the Bulldogs would take a lot of confidence into their semi-final.
“We played them once during the season and had a win against them,” he said. “It was our best game of the season. Because we’ve beaten them, we’re 50-50 as far as I’m concerned.
“If we do the right thing, we’re a good chance of getting the win.”
Peak said it was a bonus for the Bulldogs that they were close to getting their full complement of players.
On Sunday, they had 20 players – the most they’ve had in recent weeks.
“We’re likely to have 21 available,” he said. “We’ll have everyone available besides those who are out for the year.
“It’s a good time to have everyone back.”