Spotswood displayed nerves of steel to hold on for an historic 11-point win over Caroline Springs in the Western Region Football League senior women’s grand final at the VU Whitten Oval on Saturday.
The Wolves seemingly had one hand on the premiership when they led by 15 points at half-time, but the never-say-die Lakers mounted a second half comeback to hit the lead early in the last quarter.
Late goals from Kayla Koropeckyj and Caitlin Brennan steadied the ship for Spotswood and it held on to claim its first senior women’s premiership.
Spotswood coach Theo Theodorou believed his side would find a way.
“Even when we fell behind in the fourth quarter, I had faith in them,” he said.
“When they hit the front, I just said we’ve done this before, we’ve just got to keep running and they did.
“I said to them at three-quarter time, you’re going to have to work for the full 22 or 23 minutes and if they’re prepared to work they’ll get rewarded, and they did.”
The move of the game was the injection of Brennan into the Spotswood midfield. It was a brave decision by Theodorou, taking Brennan away from the attacking 50, considering she was the league’s leading goalkicker with 78 goals.
He went with his gut feel and Brennan produced a fourth quarter to remember.
“She was massive for us in the last 10 or 15 minutes,” Theodorou said.
“She was playing forward and midfield in the first three quarters … I sent my runner out and told him to keep her on the ball and if she could do that gut running for us for the last 10 to 12 minutes, we’ll get rewarded.
“She was really good winning the ball off the pack and then getting the ball into our forward line.”
Lauren Dundon had a major part to play for Spotswood. Dundon was the conduit between the midfield and forward and played the role so well that she was named the grand final MVP.
“Her hands in the marking contest were unbelievable,” Theodorou said. “She marked everything and while she didn’t have her eye in for shots on goal, she was massive.”
Koropeckyj was the only multiple goalkicker in the game with two majors for Spotswood.
Brennan, Dundon and Sofi Georgas were the Wolves other goalkickers.
The Wolves celebrated long and hard into the weekend.
Theodorou was taken aback by the premiership. He rates it up there with his most joyous moments in his long and distinguished playing and coaching career.
“To be honest, it still hasn’t really sunk in,” he said. “It’s unbelievable, massive.
“I’ve played in premierships, I’ve coached boys footy, but the women’s is a different dynamic, it’s great.”
Theodorou has long held the belief that Spotswood is a family club.
“The great thing about the Spotswood footy club is that we’re one footy club with many teams,” he said.