Lake Macquarie have established themselves as one of the form-sides of the AFL Hunter Central Coast competition, knocking over Singleton 76-6 at Rose Point Park on Saturday afternoon to leapfrog the Roosterettes into seventh.
Emma Howe was at her lethal best for the Dockers, securing her hat-trick in the first half as Lake Macquarie charged to a 42-0 lead. Reanna Booth opened the scoring for the travelling side, while Carla Hill and Catherine Keogh added majors of their own.
Howe rounded out her five-star performance with two more in the second half, while the Roosterettes got onto the board in the third quarter through Sarah Mousley. The Dockers piled on the goals, however, with Tahlia Thompson, Sheldon Janissen, and Billie Schneeweiss rounding out the eleven goals to one victory.
For a side that has gone through it’s third consecutive season of rebuilding, John Janissen said they had put in a “pretty good shift” against Singleton.
“We basically had to rebuild the team again this season, which has been a bit of a constant for us,” he said. “Across the year though, we’ve got through that tough early fixture run and with that passed we’ve got on a bit of a run ourselves.
“Our whole focus this year has been on becoming a better football team, and with the core of 24 or 25 girls that we have in the squad I think we’ve achieved that. There’s this big, positive feeling in the camp, and a lot of keeness for the future.”
The four competitive points moves Lake Macquarie (7-6) just two wins behind the top six pack. Closest to the Dockers are Terrigal and Cardiff, with nine wins each, while Newcastle, Wyong, and Maitland lie above with 10-3 records.
“We’re stuck right behind that cluster now. If the comp had stayed as a top eight: happy days,” Janissen told the Chronicle. “As it is, it’s virtually impossible for us to make the six now unless some major upsets go our way.
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“The team is facing the possibility of having a very good season and getting 10 wins, and still missing out on the finals. That’s unfortunate. In my opinion it could have stayed as a top eight, or a top seven, to have those top six teams that are always there playing alongside one or two mid-table teams that have earned their places.
“Despite that, this isn’t a negative season for us at all though, we’ve beaten sides we’ve never beaten before,” he said. “It’s not all about the stars for our squad either, it’s the whole team lifting together and it’s a good mix of girls, and we get better as everyone learns. It’s a fantastic group, with a great attitude, and we’ve all had a lot of fun with it.”
Now Lake Macquarie have just one more opportunity to potentially make it into the postseason and play finals football – bowl Cardiff over in what could be the Dockers “grand final fixture” in Round 18 at Pasterfield.
“I think myself and the girls would be happy if we finished ‘best of the rest’ because this year has already made us mentally a lot stronger,” Janissen said.
“Even more so for a strong season, we have one more chance against Cardiff if they can drop a game or two towards the end of the season. That final gameday against them could be our grand final, and the biggest of our season, so we’re watching them.”
There could be a small chance for the Dockers. Newcastle City overwhelmed Cardiff in the second-half of the top six battle this weekend, with Meaghan Macdonald rounding out her hat-trick late on in the fourth. Hayley Wright shot best for the Hawks with two.
Also on Saturday, Ange Jones kicked five to fire the Bombers to an 83-7 win over the Marlins, while Wyong rolled over Muswellbrook 25.7-157 to 1.0-6. Aleece Williams kicked eight for the Magpies, edging her just eleven goals behind Jones in the race for the golden boot. Alexandra Pearce added five, while Rebecca Ives clinched a hat-trick.
Wallsend-West Newcastle leapfrogged Nelson Bay with a 11.15-81 to 2.0-12 win over Gosford at Adcock Park. Leading Swans dangerwoman Amy Pittman led the scoring with four, while Kate Booth added three more.
Finally, Port Stephens fell to The Entrance Bateau Bay with thirteen off-target shots in their 13-19 defeat at the hands of the Blues at Bateau Bay Sports Facility. Warners Bay, Maitland, and Terrigal Avoca all had the Round 14 byes.
STANDINGS: Killarney Vale (92%), Maitland (83%), Wyong Lakes, Newcastle City (77%), Terrigal Avoca (75%), Cardiff (69%), Lake Macquarie (53%), Singleton (46%), Warners Bay (42%), Wallsend-West Newcastle (36%), Nelson Bay (33%), Port Stephens (23%), Gosford (16%), The Entrance Bateau Bay (15%), Muswellbrook (0%).