Sport

Wildcats finals bound

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August 09, 2017

Finley Wildcats players at their jumper presentation earlier this year.

The Finley Wildcats capped off their Shepparton and Districts Junior Football League Youth Girls home and away season with a 13 point win over Shepparton United at Congupna on Sunday.

After conceding a goal in the first minute of the game, the Wildcats played to the wet and windy conditions, locking the ball in their forward half.

Finley trailed by five points at the first break, before kicking 1.4 in the second term to be in front by five points at the main break.

The second half saw the Wildcats continue to lock the ball in their attacking 50, kicking 1.2 for the closing two quarters while keeping the Demons scoreless for the half.

Murray Bushrangers representatives Paige Nash and Eloise Ashley-Cooper were strong performers for Finley with Elle Brooks continuing her good form.

Bottom age player Olivia Cicolini continues to impress, being named among the best once again, while Grace Leeds and Lily Sharp also played well for Finley.

Final score, Finley Wildcats 2.7 (19) to Shepparton Utd 1.0 (6).

Wildcats coach Jorja Daniel said she was impressed with how her side was able to hold out the Demons for three quarters.

‘‘We started a bit flat in the first quarter, which you kind of expect in the conditions we were playing in,’’ she said.

‘‘Shepparton kicked their goal after just 50 seconds and I thought we might’ve been in for a long day.

‘‘But the girls stuck to the task and just slugged it out to maintain field advantage.

‘‘We knew we were in for a tough day because Shepparton were sitting in third spot before the game.

‘‘If we’d have lost we would’ve ended up playing them again the first week of finals, so we needed to make sure we were in winning form before finals.’’

The Wildcats will face-off with Echuca in a qualifying final at John Gray Oval in Mooroopna on Sunday.

Daniel said that while her charges are confident in their own abilities, the game against the Bombers will be another tough game.

‘‘Echuca are a tricky team to match up,’’ she said.

‘‘Near the start of the season we travelled over there pretty light-on for players and they beat us, while last time we played them we were at full strength and dominated.

‘‘It all depends on player availability but hopefully everyone puts their hand up due to it being finals.

‘‘We’ll be looking to the more senior players like Eloise Ashley-Cooper, Paige Nash and Rhiannon Murphy-Riddell to show their leadership on-field.

‘‘Lauren Clarke and Victoria Alexander will be crucial for us deep in defence as well. They’ve been pretty formidable down back this season.

‘‘It’s just our second season and we’re in a fantastic position to challenge for a flag.’’

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