Newcastle’s forwards found their scoring boots at Adcock Park on Sunday afternoon, with Meaghan MacDonald leading the way with ten as the Blues powered to a 157-nil victory over a depleted Gosford outfit.
Despite the victory only moving Newcastle to a 50 percent record in 2019 so far, coach Kirsty Ferguson said she “wasn’t at all concerned” with how the Blues had began their title defence in the AFL Hunter Central Coast competition.
“We knew Wyong and Maitland were going to be really big matches for us in the first month, so that doesn’t bother us, and now it’s just good to get a big win on the board to show that our efforts in the preseason are paying off,” she said.
“We tried a strategy against the Tigers where we had Meaghan [MacDonald] and Sam [Thompson] lead the line by themselves as two full forwards, and having them square up against the defenders and having a bit of room to move,” Ferguson explained.
It was a strategy that paid off in spades for the Blues. Combining for fifteen goals between them the full forward duo led the way for the champions. Alongside their fifteen majors, Simone Wood (three), Courtney Eckert (two), and Tjarra Kilpatrick (two) added multiple goals in the twenty-three majors to nil onslaught.
With lethal goalscorer Sarah Halvorsen (back) still out for the next few weeks, Ferguson said she was pleased to see other forwards stepping into the gap she has left. The Blues coach also said there was another surprise package that had come out of the Gosford victory.
“We had a new girl that’s joined us this season, Hannah Murdoch who has never played at senior level before, score a goal in the game, and she was great,” the City coach said. “She got the ball out of the pack well and shot it to Megahan and Sam quite strongly.”
Finally, Ferguson said she was pleased to grab the second win of a fourth road match in a row. Now, the Blues are bound for No.1 Sportsground after a month of buses and packed bags, and there’s a major milestone waiting at the end.
“We’ll be celebrating Anna Ralston’s fiftieth game for the club next Saturday against Killarney Vale, and all three grades will be playing at home so we’re all looking forward to that,” she said. “Anna is only the eighth girl to make that milestone for Newcastle so it’s great to see, and something that’s special to celebrate.”
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Also on Saturday in the AFL Hunter Central Coast’s Anzac Round, Amy Pittman moved into third in the race for the golden boot as she powered Wallsend-West Newcastle to a 17.13-115 to 0.1-1 win over The Entrance Bateau Bay with seven majors.
Maitland – and their top scorer Jessie Burnham – had a similar result as the Saints stayed undefeated with a 90-6 win. She was joined on the scoresheet Leawanna O’Donoghue, who slotted two.
Port Stephens netted a default win over Muswellbrook due to the Cats forfeit, while Killarney Vale claimed the same after the Marlins were forced to call the game on player numbers.
TABLE: Killarney Vale, Wyong Lakes, Maitland, Terrigal Avoca (100%), Cardiff, Singleton (75%), Wallsend-West Newcastle (66%), Newcastle City (50%), Port Stephens (33%), Lake Macquarie, Gosford (25%), Warners Bay, Nelson Bay, Muswellbrook, The Entrance Bateau Bay (0%).