Eagles home in a thriller
By PAUL CHAMBERS
WOW! What a game.
What a great advertisement for women's football.
Both teams should feel very proud of themselves for the way in which they participated in a classic final.
They both displayed skill, pace, athleticism, good technique and incredible fitness to play at such a fast pace for 125 minutes of non stop action.
The Boambee Eagles eventually held their nerve in front of goal to strike the decisive blow deep into the second 15-minute period of golden goal extra time.
Congratulations to them and their supporters, they thoroughly deserve the success.
To see the tears of joy from the players when they mobbed goal scoring hero Kristy Hosking at the end showed what winning meant to them.
The outpouring of emotions by their vocal and passionate supporters showed so much pride and happiness at what the girls had achieved, in what goes down as one of the most remarkable turnaround seasons on record.
To start off the year with only eight players and be running second last on the ladder at the end of the first round, nobody, including themselves, could possibly have foreseen this finish to the season.
From last to Premiers in half a season of football is a huge achievement.
There performance on Saturday night was one of total commitment and dogged determination.
They fell behind twice in the game, at 1-0 and then at 2-1.
The second time was potentially demoralising for them as it came straight after they had just worked so hard to get back into the match and equalise themselves.
Again though they clawed back and made it to 2-2 so the game went into the sudden death extra time period.
In this period of play the girls really stood up to the challenge and showed great resolve.
There were plenty of heroes for the Eagles, but the whole squad played a big part in the win.
Kristy Hosking took the main glory for cooly scoring the winning goal.
The pressure on her as she ran in on goal was greater as she had narrowly missed a carbon copy chance at the other end in the first period of extra time, but when it really mattered most she made no mistake.
"I was running in just thinking about where I was going to put the ball, I decided on which corner I was going to put it after that earlier miss," she said.
"To win this is just amazing. There was no pressure on us even when we went behind twice our intensity just went through the roof and got us more pumped up.
Other heroes on the night were Zoe Bale at the back, who had an awesome game; Maria Priori in goal; Kylie Macdonald, who was a constant danger up front with her pace; Amanda Jordan, who led the team from midfield; and Kayla Russell, whose runs and crosses down the left side became more and more dangerous as the game went on.
In games as close as these it is always a shame one team has to lose, and on Saturday that team had to be Coffs.
The tears they shed at the end were of disappointment and sadness at getting so close, but falling agonisingly short.
They too can hold their heads up high because they still played a massive game.
In the end though maybe they felt the pressure a little bit more and this added a little more weight to already tired legs.
Laura and Ellie Hall played big games for the Lionesses, as did Kasey King in midfield, Sally Keeler in goal and the McVicar sisters.
This just wasn't their day though, and they were magnanimous in defeat.
Their coach Gorden Barton was sincere in his post match appraisal of the game.
"That was a top game, the best game of football I have been involved with for a long time," he said.
"It was a very good advert for women's football. We just ran out of steam at the end, but I am so proud of my girls they played so hard to win it showing a lot of guts and a good amount of skill.
"Today though Boambee were better than us, congratulations to them on a very good game and a good win."
The Eagles coach, Graham Cruikshanks, was overjoyed with the result.
"Unbelievable! We knew we had a great chance and how hard we had to work, but that game was incredible," he said.
"The wave of emotions through all the ups and downs of the game was a great experience, the girls showed a lot of determination coming back twice from being behind and they should really enjoy this achievement.
"This club has been so supportive of women's football it is just great for everybody that we have won today, it is a great effort from all the girls, the club and our supporters." he said.