By: Megan Hustwaite
Bayswater created history at Lilydale on Sunday when it etched itself into EFL history books.
The Waters defeated Waverley Blues by 11 points in an absorbing grand final to win the inaugural Deakin Uni Eastern Region senior women’s flag.
Victorious captain Zoe Alston, who has led the side since it began back in 2013, was in tears when the final siren sounded with Bayswater ahead 4.2 (26) to 2.3 (15) on the scoreboard.
“We did it. It really hasn’t sunk in and I think it will be a while before it does,’’ she said post-match.
“I burst into tears. I was just so happy. Words can’t describe how proud I am of these girls, it’s been amazing to watch them grow all year, that means a lot to me. I’ve never really been the sort of person to focus on myself, I always love to help other people and that’s what makes this whole experience ten times better.”
It was double joy for the 23-year-old defender who was awarded the best-on-ground medal for her standout performance.
“Yeah, that was very exciting too. I actually started the game in the midfield then I got put to centre half back but I was often a free player which allowed me to set the tone and lead our defenders,’’ she said.
“Sometimes if I stand back behind the ball I can see the ground a bit better and give some more direction to my team mates, I’m more of a defensive player anyway.”
Bayswater’s Chelsea Mammone led the way with two goals for the winners, while Deanna Joliffe and Kristina Martin also hit the scoreboard. Meantime, Waverley Blues conjured their two goals from Laura Donaldson and Olivia Baxter.
“The first quarter was really interesting because neither side scored, it was tight and really tense,’’ Alston said.
“We had to get our bums into gear, but we did and then once everyone’s nerves settled we were able to just focus on the game and playing the sort of footy we wanted to play. We kicked two goals and kept Waverley to a point in the second quarter and that helped us build a lead.
“In the last quarter Waverley started to come back at us, they are a great side, but we were able to stand firm and draw on different experiences we’ve had in games during the year.
“I thought all our midfield was outstanding all day and our backline was definitely really great. Our defenders are all new players – Deanna Joliffe, Caitlyn Wilson, Christie Lay and Heather McMillan – all really stood out, it was great to watch.”
League leading goal kicker Leesa McShane, who has provided many a highlight on her way to 36 goals this season, battled illness for 10 days leading up to the season finale but took her place in the side.
“Unfortunately, Leesa has been really sick for the last week and a half but she still played and still played her role in the team as all of the players have done all year,’’ Alston said.
“As I always say to the girls it’s not about the individual, it’s about the jumper you’re wearing and the team.”
This historic flag means so much to so many at Appleby Oval.
“Our team manager, who is actually my mum Lisa, has put so much time and effort into the team, so have all our coaches, all the volunteers and support at our club has all contributed to this moment and we are really grateful,’’ Alston said.
“We really have made history today and that’s something all the girls are really excited about.
“After the game when we received our medals that was mentioned during the presentation. Lots of people were talking about that in the rooms after the game and the girls are stoked because they’ve never been part of something so special like this before.
“We’ve led the way for our club and the first year of this new league.”
Bayswater 4.2 (26) defeated Waverley Blues 2.3 (15)
Sunday September 10, Lilydale Sports Oval
Goal Kickers: C. Mammone 2, D. Jolliffe, K. Martin
Best Players: Z. Alston, D. Jolliffe, M. Lee, K. Aquilina, C. Mammone
Goal Kickers: L. Donaldson, O. Baxter
Best Players: C. Krelle, B. Murphy, S. Allen, A. Glasscock, E. Bowden, K. Baxter
Best-on-ground medal: Zoe Alston (Bayswater)
Bayswater 2017 Deakin Uni senior women premiers: Zoe Alston (Captain), Leesa McShane, Caitlyn Wilson, Courtney Anderson, Natalie Ferriggi, Melissa Bock, Chelsea Mammone, Marissa Lee, Christie Lay, Tori Gibb, Heather McMillan, Rachael Gissing, Jacqui Jansen, Jasmine Hills, Kristina Martin, Belinda Gillespie, Jessica Raditsis, Brenda Lay, Kirstie Aquilina, Deanna Joliffe, Stephanie Moss, Stephanie Havercroft