North Albany’s historic premiership triumph

Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser
North Albany celebrate winning the inaugural GSWFL premiership.
Camera IconNorth Albany celebrate winning the inaugural GSWFL premiership. Credit: Laurie Benson

North Albany have clinched the first Great Southern Women’s Football League premiership after prevailing in a thrilling grand final played in front of an estimated crowd of more than 1800 people at Collingwood Park on Friday night.

The Kangas led at every change but had to withstand a big challenge from the Lions in the final quarter as they hung on by five points with Kangas tall Laura Archer receiving the medal for best on ground.

North Albany's Laura Archer was named best on ground in the grand final.
Camera IconNorth Albany's Laura Archer was named best on ground in the grand final. Credit: Albany Advertiser

Archer was superb in the first half along with Nardia Humphries and captain Cleo Drygan as they helped the Kangas open up a handy 14-point advantage by half time.

The first quarter was outstanding as Drygan kicked the first goal of the decider and Lions forward Sophie McDonald booted two at the other end including a miraculous snap over her head.

Archer gave the Kangas the lead back nearing quarter-time and Nardia Humphries kicked the only major of the second term.

Royals' Abby Duncan gets clear of North Albany's Nardia Humphries.
Camera IconRoyals' Abby Duncan gets clear of North Albany's Nardia Humphries. Credit: Albany Advertiser

The Lions hit back, however, as Tess Brinsden kicked truly before a third to McDonald made it a seven-point difference heading into the final stanza.

Drygan kicked a brilliant stoppage goal early in the last to push the Kangas ahead by 13 points and both Brinsden and Tully Lane had chances to trim the margin but were off-target.

The Lions had the majority of possession and play in the final 10 minutes as they peppered their attack half and Brinsden jailed her second inside the final three minutes to reduce the margin back to five points.

Royals' Leah Field is tackled by North Albany's Cleo Drygan.
Camera IconRoyals' Leah Field is tackled by North Albany's Cleo Drygan. Credit: Albany Advertiser

However, the Kangas held on in a tense final few moments to claim a historic win, 6.4 (40) to 5.5 (35).

The Kangas were best served by Archer, Drygan and young pair Pemba Spargo and Hannah Felton while for the Lions, McDonald was terrific along with Rachael Goetze, Brinsden and Leah Field.

North Albany's Imogen Crump gets held up by Royals' Tess Brinsden and Rachael Goetze.
Camera IconNorth Albany's Imogen Crump gets held up by Royals' Tess Brinsden and Rachael Goetze. Credit: Albany Advertiser

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