Muswellbrook have put competitive points on the board for the first time this season, scoring a 55-0 win over The Entrance Bateau Bay in Round 17.
Ashlee Keating and Jessica Higham led the way for the Cats, notching doubles at Weeraman Field to guide their team to the 55-point victory. Higham opened the scoring with a major minutes into the contest.
Keating followed suit with her rapid-fire double, and Ellie Adam added a goal of her own to boost Muswellbrook to a 26-nil lead in the opening quarter.
Higham rounded out her brace in the second, and was joined on the scoresheet by Jessica Newton. Samantha Rodrigues rounded out the seven-goal win.
For the Cats, it was a great way to close out a season that had truly come alive in the past two months as the club were able to “get on a roll” of games. According to coach Megan Kropp, missing consistent game time was killer earlier in the year.
“It was very nice to get a win, that’s for sure,” Kropp said. “We had a very stilted start to the season with where the byes were, and now we’ve finally had six or seven game-weeks in a row. That’s helped the improvement a lot.
“For the team, the most important thing has been seeing the improvement every week with regular games, and it’s been great to work for our goals.
Throughout the season we’ve worked on development, and we’ve come a long way. Where we are located means we have a high level of player turnover, and getting people interested is often the challenge.
“That means a lot of our focus is often on working through the season with a development focus. That’s been a success.”
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Considering wins and majors had been thin on the ground for the ever-improving team, Kropp said she was “really pleased” that committed players and forwards like Keating and Higham were able to grab the reward of their doubles.
“We don’t score a lot, so this game was a big reward for our girls that have spent a lot of time in the forwards, so that was good for them,” said Kropp.
“In the last few weeks we’ve played some of the top teams that could have given us big blow-out scores, but we held them back for the most part and that was great to see. It’s just great to see the squad coming together now that we have games.
“We don’t ever want to make things easier for any of the teams, and every week the skill level has improved out of sight. I’m glad we could get the win to reward that, and now we’ll just keep going on from here to the end of the season.”
Also in the AFLHCC Women’s penultimate round, Killarney Vale tightened their grip on the premiership with a 200-nil win over Port Stephens at Adelaide Street Oval, while Maitland kept a single win behind with a 32-7 win over Cardiff.
Both Wyong and Newcastle kept third and fourth too, with City ousting club rivals Terrigal Avoca 8.6-54 to 1.0-6, and the Magpies edging Warners Bay 6.5-41 to 4.4-28 at Don Small Oval. Aleece Williams slotted a hat-trick for Wyong Lakes.
At Tulkaba Park, Lake Macquarie moved to just a single win behind Cardiff in sixth with a 16.13-109 to 4.2-26 win over Gosford. The Dockers hold a 9-6 record, while the Hawks are currently in the playoff places with a 10-5 standing.
Finally, Nelson Bay scored their fifth win of the season with a 5.14-44 to 0.1-1 result over Wallsend-West Newcastle at Dick Burwell Oval. Singleton had the bye.
STANDINGS: Killarney Vale (93%), Maitland (86%), Wyong Lakes, Newcastle City (80%), Terrigal Avoca (73%), Cardiff (66%), Lake Macquarie (60%), Warners Bay (46%), Singleton (40%), Wallsend-West Newcastle (35%), Nelson Bay (33%), Port Stephens (18%), Gosford, The Entrance Bateau Bay (13%), Muswellbrook (7%).