SWFLW 2022: Busselton directly advance to SWFL women’s grand final

Headshot of Justin Fris
Justin FrisBunbury Herald
Georgia Mahony takes a tumble as Magpies opponent Maddy Obal closes in.
Camera IconGeorgia Mahony takes a tumble as Magpies opponent Maddy Obal closes in. Credit: Justin Fris/South Western Times/South Western Times

Busselton women’s coach Rennie Meadmore is one game away from creating South West football history, after the Magpies held off a fast-finishing Bunbury 2.5 (17) to 1.4 (10) in Sunday’s second semifinal at Hands Oval.

Should the Magpies win their maiden women’s premiership in a fortnight’s time, Meadmore — who is in her first season as a playing coach — would become the first female to coach a senior premiership-winning team in the SWFL since Bunbury’s Trish Lake back in 2017.

Despite Bunbury winning the minor premiership, they appeared to be severely disadvantaged heading into the clash, given the fact they had not played a game since August 21 due to the nature of the women’s fixture.

Having played no games in 20 days leading into a major final is less than ideal for any side attempting to directly qualify for a grand final.

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And sure enough, it took a little while for the league leaders to find their rhythm.

This transition period was pounced upon early by the Magpies, who utilised their speedy midfield unit of Katie-Jayne Grieve, Beth Beckett and Katrina Shrewsbury with great effect.

Aside from an early behind to Shana-Lee Beardman — who was playing out of the goal square on Larissa Treagus —in the second term, the Bulldogs were starved of goalmouth opportunities in the first half.

After dictating terms in general play throughout, the Magpies finally got reward for effort on the scoreboard late in the second quarter, courtesy of consecutive goals to Ellie Merrett and Demi Liddle.

Despite knowing a defeat would not spell the end of their season, this Bunbury side has no shortage of resilience and no one was prepared to write them off.

With Abby Gellard, Ruby Mahony and Ebony Bilcich gradually getting more of the ball in the corridor, the Bulldogs began to win more positional battles across the ground.

A late goal in the third term to Daisy Rigby trimmed the margin to an achievable nine points at the final change. However, the Bulldogs were unable to convert any of their remaining shots in front of goal for the match.

On the final siren, Magpies players sprinted from the bench to bask in the joy of reaching a grand final.

Meanwhile in the Bulldogs camp, they might have been defeated on the scoreboard, however. the eyes of everyone wearing black-and-gold indicated their second-half fightback could be a taste of things to come next Sunday in the preliminary final against Donnybrook at home.

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