Wyong Lakes have confirmed the 2019 AFL Hunter Central Coast Women’s season will not see an invincible minor premiership, after defeating league leaders Maitland 28-17 at Max McMahon Oval early on Saturday morning.

Its the first time the Saints have been bumped into the losers’ circle so far this year, after the club marched to seven straight victories to start their campaign.

The Magpies, who also delivered a memorable upset in the preliminary final against Nelson Bay last season, kept the Saints to their lowest score, with league-leading goalscorer Jessie Burnham restricted to just a single major in the opening quarter.

After Burnham’s opening effort put the Saints up 8-1 after the first period, Aleece Williams slotted an answering goal to keep the margin to just a single point Maitland’s way in the second.

The armwrestle game, which focused on “tough and gritty footy” in the middle of the park, suited Wyong perfectly Josh Lawler said after the 11-point win. In particular, centre-field leaders Rachel Potts and Tanesha Murray rose to the occasion, he said.

“It was a game that just suited us perfectly, we went back to basics and fought our way through the contested footy that was being played,” he said. “We just kept building throughout the game and then kicked the goals that mattered.

“Rachel [Potts] especially was really dominant in the midfield, she gave us that base to build on, and Tanesha Murray in the ruck was basically all over the footy field. When the game started to get really tough, those two stood up and lifted everyone.”

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While Potts and Murray led the tug-of-war in the midfield, it was Williams who led the attack. Wyong’s dangerous forward slotted her second of the game in the third, to put the Pies closer at 15-16. Mahala Websters’ effort minutes later put them in front.

From there, it was just about keeping the Saints scoreless, a feat the Magpies pulled off in the final quarter with their “gritty” defence. In the end, it was Wyong themselves that struck one final time. Rebecca Ives slotted the final chance home.

“After the loss against Cardiff the mood had dropped in the club, but we just wanted to get back to our basic structures, and our defence, and the girls were so pleased that we could get the win against Maitland, and do it playing our own footy,” Lawler said.

“We were flying at the start of the year, and had a really good start, but then a couple of losses put our backs to the wall and we knew we were going to need something special to get back into the mix. This Maitland win achieves that, and shows a lot.

“I think anyone that finishes in the finals spots at the end of the season can knock anyone over, we beat Newcastle, Newcastle beat Killarney Vale, then Killarney Vale beat us, so it shows how close it call all be. Because of that, every win matters.”

Saturday afternoon was also a memorable day for Nelson Bay, as they scored their first win of the season with a 5.7-37 to 4.4-28 win over The Entrance Bateau Bay.

Defending premiers Nelson Bay scored their first win of the season on Saturday afternoon. Image via Ken Hogan.

The Marlins have struggled thus far this season. After finishing as minor premiers in 2018, a host of players departing the club has seen them drop into the battle to avoid the wooden spoon in the AFLHCC’s first year. Now the Marlins – one of just two clubs to ever lift the league’s championship trophy – have finally got points on the board.

Also in Round 9 of the competition, Killarney Vale ousted Lake Macquarie 19.10-124 to 1.0-6 to level standings with Maitland. Terrigal Avoca also moved into equal first place, defeating Port Stephens 142-2. Morgan Ross kicked ten for the Panthers in their 140-point victory, while the Bombers’ Ange Jones slotted the same against the Power.

Terrigal Avoca forward Morgan Ross has kicked 35 goals so far this season, third in the race for the golden boot behind Ange Jones (45), and Jessie Burnham (36). Photo: Bruce Edminston.Newcastle and Cardiff have also kept pace with Wyong, after the two inner-city clubs scored 115 and 116-point wins respectively.

Meaghan Macdonald led from the front for City, scoring seven of the team’s eighteen majors. For the Hawks, Sophie Ranken claimed a hat-trick, while Bailey sisters Eva and Minerva combined for eight against the Roosterettes.

Finally, Warners Bay claimed a 136-nil win over Gosford which saw Kirsty Jedrzejak score five, while Rachel Evans added four in the 20-goal win. Muswellbrook had the bye.

STANDINGS: Killarney Vale, Maitland, Terrigal Avoca (88%), Wyong Lakes, Newcastle City, Cardiff (78%), Singleton (55%), Lake Macquarie (44%), Warners Bay (37%), Wallsend-West Newcastle (28%), Port Stephens (25%), Nelson Bay, Gosford (12.5%) The Entrance Bateau Bay (11%), Muswellbrook (0%).