Keilor shakes off semi-final blues, nails decider berth

Marthese Zahra has found her groove in her first football season. (Shawn Smits)

By Tara Murray

Keilor has redeemed itself and earned an Essendon District Football League Women’s premier division grand final spot in the progress.

After a disappointing semi-final against Aberfeldie, the Blues were switched on against Hillside on Saturday in their preliminary final.

In a strong four-quarter performance, the Blues won 7.7 (49)-2.0 (12).

Blues coach Ron Sikora said he was thrilled with how his players responded to the semi-final loss.

“Intent is what we pride ourselves on and we did exactly that,” he said. “It was across the board and everyone played their role.”

One of the most pleasing elements for Sikora was the way they finished off the game, displaying a killer instinct that has sometimes been lacking.

“It’s an area of improvement,” he said. “We don’t keep the momentum going. We get comfortable when we’re winning … we have to keep on the pressure.”

Sikora said he was delighted with the good number of contributors across the four quarters. And it was some of the youngest players that impressed him the most.

“We brought in four under-18s and their instincts around the footy set the standard,” he said.

In the grand final, the Blues will face Aberfeldie – again.

Sikora said they had worked to identify the key areas that would help them take it to the undefeated minor premiers.

“We’ve identified the difference between our good and bad games,” he said. “We’re either proactive or reactive. If we’re proactive, we stand a good chance of winning.”

Team selection will present challenges, with everyone bar those ruled out with long-term injuries available. The club will be hoping that Rachael Knight comes up this week after missing the game against the Sharks.

The grand final will be the Blues’ third in three different competitions across the past three years. They won the combined EDFL and Western Region premiership in 2017, before making the Northern Football League division 1 grand final last year.

Sikora said a lot of work had been put in behind the scenes, but that it was important to remember this was a new group, compared to those of the past couple of years.

“It’s a credit to the new girls at the club who are new to the game,” he said.

“One girl [Marthese Zahra] is playing her first year of football and if you were to see her, you would say I would be lying.

“It’s a happy environment and they feed off each other.

“It’s a development process, though we’ve had some good success. A lot of hard work goes into that success.”

In division 1, Keilor Park was knocked out in it preliminary final by Maribyrnong Park.

The Devils lost 7.4 (46)-2.1 (13).