The Great Southern Football League finished fourth in the Rio Tinto women’s division of the Nutrien Ag Solutions Country Football Championships in Perth last week. A loss in the semifinals to eventual champions South West ended the GSFL’s title hopes and then they suffered a seven-point defeat at the hands of Great Northern to end the championships in fourth place. Great Southern lost their opening match of the campaign at Lane Group Stadium on Thursday by five points to Great Northern but rebounded to record a strong 20-point triumph over Esperance, and then edged out Pilbara by eight points to finish second in their pool. That set up a showdown with South West on Friday in a repeat of last year’s grand final. Great Southern trailed by only a point at half-time thanks to goals from Laura Archer and Laura Cinanni in a gripping first half. South West produced a clinical second half, however, as key forward Kate Fielding finished off her teammates’ strong work. They kicked five unanswered goals in the second period to run out emphatic 31-point winners and book a grand final spot. Fielding starred with three goals, while Bethany Bond and Lacey Holdsworth chipped in with two majors as South West downed Great Southern, 7.1 (43) to 2.0 (12). Cinanni was terrific in a losing affair and well supported by Marlee Ashton and defender Kathryn Jennings. Great Southern then faced Great Northern in the third and fourth play-off an hour later and they were left to rue a wasteful first half. Kicking with the breeze, Great Southern managed only 1.5 to lead by four points and Great Northern kicked three goals to one in the second to prevail 4.4 (28) to 2.9 (21) and claim third place. Ella Scamozzi booted both goals for Great Southern, while Sian Lucas, captain Taylah Orzel and Cinanni toiled hard in the loss. Midfield star Orzel, ruck Georgia Kowald and forward Archer were all selected in the All Stars at the completion of the tournament. GSFL coach Collin Pass said the championships were another important step forward for women’s players in the region. “As predicted, we started slow and dropped that first one to Great Northern,” Pass said. “That cost us as we ended up playing South West for that place in the grand final. “We put a lot of effort and focus into that game after last year and it was even at half-time but South West are extremely silky, and the five goals they got in the second came quickly and they kicked 7.1, which is very good. “In the play-off we didn’t capitalise with the breeze in the first half. “We deserved to finish third but ultimately we played our grand final against South West. It was another great growth opportunity for our girls that went away and we are still adjusting to what carnival football is like.” Pass made special mention of a couple of players across the carnival. “Laura Cinanni was a standout player for us — you could put her anywhere,” he said. “Rachael Goetze came in on the Friday and had good impact, and Kat Jennings at full-back directed traffic and set us up beautifully. “A shout out to our midfield who battled away in that heat. “I also thought Marlee Ashton showed good signs at her first carnival on a wing and Abby Duncan was our stand-in full forward and kicked a few goals.” The GSFL unveiled its new playing jumper and apparel at the championships.