Central West AFL Eagles women are run down by Sapphire Coast in final quarter

MILESTONE: Saturday's match against Sapphire Coast marked the debut of the a senior Central West AFL women's representative team. The Eagles were run down in the final term. Photo: MY ACTION IMAGES
MILESTONE: Saturday's match against Sapphire Coast marked the debut of the a senior Central West AFL women's representative team. The Eagles were run down in the final term. Photo: MY ACTION IMAGES

SHE literally bled for the Central West AFL women's Eagles, but even a strong defensive display from Parkes talent Korine Coleman was not enough to help them win their inaugural representative match.

Instead it was hosts Sapphire Coast who finished full of running at Nowra on Saturday, coming from behind to snatch a 7-2-42 to 5-6-36 victory.

Central West held the edge on the scoreboard for much of the match, a treble of majors from Bathurst Bushrangers talent Beth Durham, plus goals from Bathurst Giants duo Brooke Alexander and Mariah Gilchrist seeing the Eagles with a 14-point lead heading into the final change.

But the physical challenge of playing 18-minute quarters told.

As the clock kicked down, Sapphire Coast delivered the ball over the heads of the Central West defenders to their forwards inside 50. Even then it took a major grubbered off the ground to sink the visitors.

"It was awesome and a little bit nail-biting," Eagles coach Jayarna Kay said.

"I think when you don't normally play that long in a game, the girls are used to 15 minute quarters, the girls just got tired.

"In the last quarter it showed, we just couldn't keep up, and I think Sapphire Coast are just natural runners, they ran all over us in the last quarter.

"The girls just gave it everything, there was not much else they could do. We had a couple of injuries as well, players had to come off that last quarter. Tamara Thompson did her ankle and one of our backs Korine [Coleman] from Parkes, she got knocked in the nose and ended up with a pretty bloody nose."

While beaten, Kay and her co-coach Luke Le Page were proud of the debut performance.

Prior to the representative fixture, the Central West outfit only had two training sessions. But they also bonded via social media and when on the field, had what Kay labelled 'a buddy system' for rotations.

It saw the midfielders, wingers and players across centre-half-back swapping in and out to help them get on top.

Central West did not concede a single point in the first term and even after Sapphire Coast rallied in the second quarter, Kay's side led 3-2-20 to 2-1-13 at the long break.

The Eagles won the third quarter as well, but fatigue told in the end.

"You wouldn't even think, you wouldn't even pick it that these girls only came together two weeks ago. Yes they've played against each other, but they've never had to gel as a team," Kay said.

"The way they played today, you would have thought they'd been playing together all season."

Though Kay praised her entire squad, Durham's effort was a special one. She started at full forward, but given her height she was also rotated into the ruck to give Orange's Seeanna Lindsay a break.

"Beth actually was pretty consistent the whole game, she performed at her best, so therefore she got best and fairest for the day. It was good to see Beth come from full forward into the ruck, she was consistently amazing the whole game," Kay said.

"All of the girls were outstanding, it was hard to pick best and fairest at the end of the day, but Beth was just a class act. Watching her play was pretty exciting."

SAPPHIRE COAST 7-2-42 defeated CENTRAL WEST 5-6-36 (Beth Durham 3, Mariah Gilchrist, Brooke Alexander)