With the regular season now wrapped up, the finals picture for the Black Diamond AFL Womens campaign has been confirmed, with the Nelson Bay Marlins heading straight to the preliminary finals with their first seed finish.
The Marlins waved away a losing streak to end their season on a high, bumping Wyong Lakes down to a fourth place finish with a 4.4.28 over 1.2.8 victory at Dick Burwell Oval that was crowned with a fourth quarter double for Molly Simpson.
With a number of injuries leaving the minor premiers bare-bones for their finals campaign, Simpson’s emergence as a key kicker for the squad will provide a spark of hope – the representative star has slotted 36 majors over the course of the season to join the top five goalscorers in 2018.
It was Jemma Astley and Jenna Afleck that led the way early in the must-win fixture for the northern outfit, who both slotted goals in the first to give the Marlins a 12-1 lead heading into the opening break.
After a quarter of behinds at Dick Burwell, Dacia Price put the Magpies on the board in the third to close the gap by just eight points, but Simpson’s late contributions sealed the deal – and first place – for her team.
Elsewhere in the final round, Killarney Vale leapfrogged the Mapgies with a major 25.24.174 to nil over last placed Wallsend-West Newcastle, with Ashleigh Page slamming seven past the Swans, while the Newcastle City Stars recorded a 12.17.89 to 3.5.23 victory over rivals Terrigal Avoca at the No.1 Sportsground to finish second.
Singleton confirmed their finals attendance as they defeated Muswellbrook at Weeraman Field 10.10.70 to 1.2.8, with Emily Mitchell scoring a hat-trick to bring her season tally up to a goal a game in her sixteen appearances.
Maitland also moved into the last finals position at the expense of Warners Bay, doubling their score 8.13.61 to 5.2.32 at Max McMahon Oval. Jessie Burnham kicked a hat-trick for the Saints.
The Newcastle City Novas also brushed away cobwebs they have been struggling with in recent weeks, guided by four for both Simone Wood and Kate Handley in their 19.21.135 to 1.0.6 triumph over the Lake Macquarie Dockers.
First published as: Simpson emerges as Marlins’ leading lady