“They say you gotta lose one to win one.”
That was one of the first things Kangaroos coach Ben Evenis said after his side prevailed 4.2 (26) to 1.6 (12) against Inverell at Varley Oval in the AFL North West women’s grand final.
The Kangaroos went down in last year’s inaugural women’s grand final to the Saints and Evenis said that drove his side to succeed in 2018.
“I’m over the moon,” Evenis said after the victory.
“We lost last year. That hurt us but we came back, we dug deep and got the win.”
A lot of digging was done on the day, a lot of it with studs into the playing pitch.
With the overnight rain leaving puddles of water on the pitch, conditions were tough and points were hard to come by which was reflected in the scoreline.
Four separate players scored goals for the Kangaroos – Daisy George, Natalie Deaves, Shannon Campbell and Chloe Abbott – while Kelsie Julius scored Inverell’s lone goal.
It was a slog from the start before the Kangaroos shot out to lead late in the first quarter.
The first goal – through Deaves – didn’t come until there was three minutes left in the opening term and then George kicked hers a minute later to give the Roos an 11-point buffer.
A grubbered goal to Abbott a third of the way through the second quarter saw Tamworth take control before Inverell scored their lone goal in the final minute of the term after kicking six behinds on the trot.
Campbell’s goal came in the third term after the Roos had kept the ball in their forward 50 for an extended length of time. All the while, Tamworth kept Inverell scoreless.
The weight of territory shifted in the final quarter with Inverell holding the ball in their forward 50 for the majority of the quarter.
However, the Saints weren’t able to score as the final quarter was a scoreless one.
After the full-time siren, Evenis commented on how it’d been a tough year at times for the Roos.
“We had a lot of girls in and out of the side and we didn’t have the numbers for each game, either, like we did last year,” Evenis said.
“It was a grind all year and then to come and play good on the day. It’s just awesome.”
Amanda Brown claimed best on ground honours for her efforts through the middle.
“Well deserved. She battled all day in the midfield,” Evenis said.
“She rolled her ankle in the second quarter and kept on digging deep. That’s what she does every week and she done it again.”
Saints coach Dick Gleeson said he expected the game to be a tough slog after the rain Inverell received before the grand finals.
He said the difference was how Tamworth used their opportunities at goal.
“The games [between the Saints and the Roos] have always been close,” Gleeson said.
“Look at the scoreboard. We had as many scoring shots but they played better footy at the goals. [They put in a] tough contest. That’s all you can ask for as a coach.”