Thrilling AFL finish for Parkes Pantherettes | Photos

Joe Blow was back as the illustrious almighty wind turned up its tune for a home game and Indigneous Round at NorthParkes Oval. The Pantherettes were up against the Tigerettes again, after only playing one another two weeks ago.

Coin toss was won by Captain Ash Rosser and we were going with the blustery wind to gain early momentum and aim to put the scoreboard pressure on the Tigers. Goal posts were dancing to the music of Michael Buble's "Sway With Me".

Parkes were on a roll, as the ball was consistently in their forward 50 and getting points on the board. Defence worked well, building the wall to ensure the ball wasn't going to get out easily and create more opportunities to score. Korine Coleman managed to kick three behinds, whilst the ever reliable backline had an odd change of events with a full on rest for a quarter. Orange were held scoreless. Georgia Mornard sustained a quad injury and unfortunately she couldn't continue on, but cheered the team on from the sideline.

With the wind against us for the second quarter, Parkes knew it'd be a tough quarter and the backline were ready for the upcoming challenge. Surprisingly despite the gale force winds, the ball was not locked in the back 50. Parkes linked up with chains of handballs and used the full width of the ground to beat off Orange and the wind.

Harriet "Flash" Moore ran nearly the full length of Northparkes Oval, all the way to the Panthers forward 50 line (with Amber L'estrange providing multiple shepherds) before Harriet took a few steps too many before bouncing the ball, resulting in a free kick to Orange. Parkes then still had the momentum with them, as they smartly used the ball without kicking against the horrendous wind. Half forwards Hallee "Super Glue" Pauley-L'estrange and Amber "The Block" L'estrange were combining the mortar to the bricks for solid foundation in the forward line, maintaining control of the ball and possessions. Parkes had kept the ball inside their forward 50 for majority of the quarter, but didn't score. Orange were also held scoreless.

Third quarter and again with the wind blowing fiercely towards the Railway Hotel end, the Panthers needed to take advantage this quarter. Players player Eloise "Where's Wally" Hiller-Stanbrook used her skills in the ruck to hit out to advantage to the midfielders, as well as follow up with series of good bone crunching tackles, taking marks and kicking to the leading forwards. Parkes had full control of the game, as the ball barely left the forward line. Korine Coleman came through again for Parkes and kicked a behind, Parkes again built the wall and following that a mad scramble for the ball along the goal line, it was flicked through for a behind. Orange were once again held scoreless.

One last quarter to go and knowing that this was going to be the hardest/longest fifteen mintues of the game, considering Orange had the upper hand with the wind. The Panthers backline automatically knew they had to find another gear to reduce the onslaught and remain calm under enormous pressure. Orange had scored a behind early on. Midfielder Rachael "Fat Tony" Gazzola played an important role as she took on the game and provided many leads for the backline to make a short kick to and receive the one, two handballs. Rachael also ganged up with her teammates to up the anti of hardcore tackling and remind the opposition it won't be easy to have clean possession of the ball. Eloise Hiller-Stanbrook had plenty of ruck work, as there were stacks of ball ups and throw ins from umpire Ron Hetherington.

As the clock ticked up and only four minutes remained and another ball up on the forward 50 arc, Orange pounced and got free from the congested area, booting the ball from about 50 metres out and the wind took it and swallowed it through the big sticks. Back to the centre square and time against the Panthers with about three odd minutes to go, ball was locked in the midfield and on the outer wing. Panthers were running like mad chooks, trying to get to the ball quickly and move it forward. Then the final siren sounded! Parkes went down by two points.

Coach Ralph beamed with a smile ear to ear and stated " I'm speechless! The girls performed so well this week, it was one of the windiest games we have had to play and for the first 3 quarters we dominated the forward line. The wind really picked up in that last quarter and although we had scored a few points, that ball wasn't steady and moved in a direction of the wind. Orange managed to get a goal in the last four minutes of playwhich put us behind by two points. Each girl played their positions and I wouldn't have changed a thing. Congratulations girls we are growing so much as a team."

Parkes Panthers 0.5-5 defeated by Orange Tigers 1.1-7

Next game is on Saturday 13th July against Bathurst Giants at George Park 1 at 2.30pm.