Hard work pays off for Keilor

Kaitlyn O'Keefe was one of the stars for Keilor this season. (Damjan Janevski) 235220_09

Tara Murray

Keilor walks away from a unique season as the Essendon District Football League women’s premier division premiers.

The league made the call to award premierships to the team that finished on top of the ladder in all divisions after no finals were played due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Blues lost just one game for the season, to sit three games clear of second-placed Hillside.

Blues coach Shannon McFerran said it was nice to be rewarded for their efforts this season.

“It’s very exciting,” she said. “I think it’s a unique situation and hopefully a one off situation.

“We had a good year and in the end we lost one game, but we got through [most] of the season.

“The girls worked hard all season on fitness and skills and even in lockdown, they were hoping that the finals would have taken place.

“They didn’t stop and credit to them, how they took it.”

McFerran said it was a season where every team in the division could take something out of it.

She said her side just continued to get better and better.

“We sort of grew as a team throughout the year,” she said. “We worked on different game scenarios.

“We had a mixture of some younger players, with a really good blend and balance.

“Leading into our last game, I thought we were starting to hit our straps. It would have been nice to finish with a finals series.”

McFerran said one of the strengths of the side was its ability to listen.

“They worked hard off the field and they stayed together through the unknown times. We were creating a culture.”

McFerran highlighted the Burcu Johnson, who joined the side from Hillside, has really matured and developed with the team.

She said Jessie Cameron and Bianca Michetti led from the front while Kaitlyn O’Keefe got better every game.

McFerran said it was also rewarding to see some of the 16 and 17-year-olds find their feet playing senior football.

The club didn’t have an under-18.5 team this season, but McFerran said she hoped they could get one back up and running.

The premiership caps off a successful return to local football for McFerran having been in the AFLW and VFLW in recent times.

“Keilor is such a great club with great history,” she said. “It was nice to get back to local footy and be a part of it.”

With the season now officially over, McFerran said it was time to have a break before getting back into it for next year.

“We’ll take a break and recharge as they were going right until the end in case we played again,” she said.

“We’re hoping to be able to catch up and celebrate the season that was. We want to be able to reward ourselves for the season.”