The VFLW Hawks defeated the Seagulls in Williamstown by 22 points in a dominant display on Sunday.
Under perfect blue-sky conditions, the Hawks could not have asked for a better day for a win.
It was a bittersweet game, as the girls were reeling from the news this week that their skipper Meg Hutchins is set to retire at the end of the season. However, with only three games left to play, the Hawks were raring to finish 2021 on a high note.
An exciting change in the forward line this week was Sarah Perkins re-joining the Hawks after spending a season on the Gold Coast playing AFLW. Her experience was invaluable as she worked with young Ashanti Bush in front of goals.
The first quarter started slowly, with neither side conceding territory.
The last time the two teams met, it was the Hawks who walked away with the win, and the Seagulls weren’t going to give in on home turf easily. They attempted the first shot on goal but struggled with accuracy – an issue that would haunt them for the entire day.
Nadia von Bertouch was finally able to pull the ball away from opposition hands and score the first goal of the day.
After that, the Hawks let the Seagulls know who was in charge as Tam Luke displayed her customary aggression in the forward line and managed another goal just before the siren.
The Hawks led by 11 points at the end of the first quarter, but the lead wasn’t quite convincing enough for Coach Bec Goddard.
The girls in the brown and gold came out eager to maintain dominance in the second quarter, and they kept control for the majority of the term.
Williamstown scored its first goal of the game in the second quarter, but weren’t as strong as the Hawks around the ground.
Alison Drennan, Mikayla Morrison, Ashanti Bush, and Nadia von Bertouch all made an impact in the forward 50, attempting shots on goal but were unrewarded. Despite accuracy issues, it was the Hawks who made the biggest mark on the term.
Finally, Sarah Perkins was able to score a big six-pointer, quickly followed by Kristy Stratton. These two goals put the Hawks securely in the lead by 21 points at half-time.
Williamstown wasn't ready to go down without a fight, and the third quarter saw the Seagulls fight back.
The opposition scored three behinds in the row, finally followed by a goal. The Seagulls kept a fierce grip on the ball, and didn’t allow the Hawks anywhere near it until the dying minutes of the term.
Finally at the end of the quarter, we saw some truly spectacular play from the pairing of Perkins and Bush.
They scored back-to-back goals, the second of which would surely be a play of the day.
Perkins kicked a whopper from 50 metres out, but it didn’t quite make it to the goal line. As the ball rolled towards the sticks, Bush, standing directly in front, managed to wrangle out of her opposition’s grasp and scooped up the ball to score a sneaky goal. It was an impressive piece of play from a young footballer still at the beginning of her career.
After the two goals from Bush, the Hawks led by 23 points as they entered the final term.
Hawthorn kicked three behinds for the quarter, but the accuracy curse was also hitting Williamstown and the Seagulls also only managed two behinds. It didn’t matter because the Hawks were too strong and easily managed the win.
With Port Melbourne and Geelong still ahead for the season (second and third on the ladder respectively), it will take a big effort from the Hawks to score wins in the final fortnight. However, after Sunday's resounding victory, the season is clearly not over yet and we can still expect moments of greatness.
Goals: Bush 2, von Bertouch, Luke, Perkins, Stratton
Best: Perera, Bevan, Bush, Drennan, Richardson, Stratton