Marlins overcome numbers battle to string together ‘well-deserved’ wins

Photo by Ken Hogan

Written by Isaac McIntyre

Originally published in The Hunter Women’s Chronicle


Nelson Bay have struggled in the opening nine rounds of the AFL Hunter Central Coast Women’s Premiership. Consigned to short player numbers after injuries and absences robbed them of a full squad, the Marlins started their season with seven losses. Now the minor premiers from last season have started “reaping the rewards” from their battles through the player-count woes, scoring their second win in as many weeks as they downed Gosford 53-16 at Adcock Park on Saturday afternoon.

“These wins have been great rewards for the efforts the girls have been putting in all season, they’ve been well deserved” Marlins coach Dean Purtle told the Chronicle. “We have a very small squad this time around because of absences and injuries, so every week it’s a struggle playing with low numbers but we’ve managed to do it. Not only that, but the girls have gone out there every week and played well.”

The Marlins leaped to a 19-1 lead in the opening quarter. Madison Mulder got Nelson Bay off the mark against the Tigers, before two more majors climbed them to an 18-point lead. Holly Gibbons claimed one for Gosford in the second. Kate Holland and Megan Walmsley both converted chances for Nelson Bay in the third, while the Tigers claimed their second of two goals for the afternoon. Already leading 36-16 heading into the final quarter, a double for Natasha Flint confirmed the 37-point win for the Marlins.

The Gosford win moves Nelson Bay into twelfth with their 2-7 record. After defeating The Entrance Bateau Bay 37-28 last weekend, the Marlins now have the chance to push themselves a fair distance away from the wooden spoon position. “It’s been a pity for us that it’s just been one of those years where it just hasn’t come together player-wise, because the girls have been pushing so hard and working for each other,” Purtle said of his barebones Marlins squad.

“The whole team gives 100 percent every single week even though some games we have 14 on the field and we’re facing 16 against us and another six on the bench. I’m so proud of what the girls have done, at the end of the day they just want to play footy and it’s so nice to get the reward after all the effort they’ve put in every game.”

Also on Saturday afternoon, Killarney Vale stayed a single win ahead of the chasing pack with a 10.5-65 to 3.5-23 win over table-topping contenders Terrigal Avoca. Sian George led the way for the Bombers, slotting six, while scoring regular Ange Jones chipped in with three of her own. Morgan Ross scored two for the Panthers.

At Ferodale Park, Mihaela Simeonova led Port Stephens as best on field to a 7.13-55 to 1.1-7 win over seventh-placed Singleton. Nicole Morgan scored twice for the Power, while Cheyenne Neu scored one and was included in the team’s best.

Wallsend-West Newcastle fell to Maitland 13.18-96 to 0.2-2 at Bill Elliot Oval, while Warners Bay scored an 80-2 victory over Lake Macquarie, and Newcastle City kept Muswellbrook scoreless as they fired home twelve goals at No.1 Sportsground.

Cardiff, Wyong, and The Entrance Bateau Bay all had the bye round.

STANDINGS: Killarney Vale (90%), Maitland (88%), Newcastle (80%), Wyong Lakes, Terrigal Avoca, Cardiff (78%), Singleton (50%), Warners Bay (44%), Lake Macquarie (40%), Port Stephens (33%), Wallsend-West Newcastle (25%), Nelson Bay (22%), The Entrance Bateau Bay, Gosford (11%), Muswellbrook (0%).