Lions are off to roaring start

Taj StubberAlbany Advertiser
Royals' Courtney Marsh breaks clear.
Camera IconRoyals' Courtney Marsh breaks clear. Credit: Taj Stubber

Royals have started their title defence in impressive fashion with a 29-point win over North Albany in the opening round of the expanded Great Southern Women’s Football League competition on Friday night.

For the first time six teams are competing in the 2020 season, and it was the defending premiers who won the first game of Friday’s double-header at Centennial Stadium set up by a dominant second half.

In front of a big crowd the Kangas controlled the first quarter and half before Lions gun Abby Duncan broke the drought kicking the first goal of the season to help her side take a four-point lead into half-time.

The Kangas showed great fight in the first half but the class of Lions shone through in the last half as they booted five goals to one.

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North Albany's Jaz Smargiassi gets her kick away as she is being pressured.
Camera IconNorth Albany's Jaz Smargiassi gets her kick away as she is being pressured. Credit: Taj Stubber

The Lions kicked three goals in the third term and despite a major from Kangas’ Mikayla Archbold the visitors trailed by 16 points heading into the last term.

Gracie Gibson and Hayley Ashboth sealed the victory in the last quarter, as the Lions ran out 6.2 (38) to 1.3 (9) winners to start their premiership defence in the best possible fashion.

Taylah Orzel was everywhere for winners while Abby Duncan (2 goals) and youngster Bree Davy were also important.

Kangas captain Laura Archer led the way for her side and was well supported by young gun Lily Minter and Marcelle Cannon.

Royals' Jodi Ferry gets her side forward.
Camera IconRoyals' Jodi Ferry gets her side forward. Credit: Taj Stubber

Denmark-Walpole ran out for their first-ever GSWFL game against Albany in front of plenty of fans in the second fixture at Centennial Stadium.

The Magpies trailed Sharks by just four points at half time before Sharks captain Mel Mettam slotted her second goal to give the Sharks an 11-point lead at three-quarter-time.

The Sharks were kept scoreless in the last term but the Magpies could only manage three points themselves as they lost their first game, 0.5 (5) to 2.1 (13).

Royals' Taylah Orzel marks ahead of North Albany's Lorissa Ferrell.
Camera IconRoyals' Taylah Orzel marks ahead of North Albany's Lorissa Ferrell. Credit: Taj Stubber

Marlee Asthon, Amy Walker and Mettam were the Sharks’ best players while Ashley Juers, Rebecca MacDonald, Kelly Flett and Brittany Finigan were all impressive for the Magpies.

Meanwhile, up the road, Mt Barker also created history when their women’s team ran out for the first time against Railways.

The Tigers, who made last season’s grand final, sprung out the blocks to have eight shots on goal and led by 13 points.

North Albany's Nardia Humphries clears her side out of defence.
Camera IconNorth Albany's Nardia Humphries clears her side out of defence. Credit: Taj Stubber

By the end of the third quarter the Tigers had opened up a 33-point buffer. Lily Wilsher-Saa impressed for the Tigers while Steevie-Lee Coulson and Ksharna Coyne were also solid in the 5.12 (42) to 0.1 (1) win.

Katanning duo Georgia and Mikaila Kowald were standouts for the Bulls first game while captain Kate Harris was also solid.

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