Panthers take on Goats
Saturday, 21st September, 2019
By Callum Marshall
West and Alma will be battling it out in the Women’s soccer grand final today, in what should be a fantastic game of speed, skill and strength.
The two sides were incredibly prolific in the goal-scoring charts this year with a positive goal difference of 95 for the Panthers and 55 for the Goats.
Strong defence was a feature for both sides as well, as they shipped only 13 (West) and 14 (Alma) goals throughout the 15-game regular season.
While the Panthers won both the minor premiership and Knock Out Cup this season, the Goats have given them an incredible challenge, with both teams’ forwards and attacking midfielders incredibly dangerous for opposition defences.
Each side has three players who’ve scored more than 15 goals this season, with the Panthers’ co-captain Sabina Brown bagging 16, Jessica Cox 16 and Monique Simmons an insane 26 goals, a good contender for the most goals scored across all senior grades.
Meanwhile, Alma’s Bronte Johns and Stephanie Harman have scored 17 each and Heaven Celotto 16.
Given all that firepower picking out individual players to watch is a hard task, with both teams knowing that if their defences drop their guard at any point they’ll be punished.
Given the games between the sides have tended to be lower scoring, tighter affairs, West’s co-captains and Alma’s captain said they were looking forward to today’s final.
“I suppose for this season our biggest competition has been Alma, so it’s good to be playing them in the final,” said West co-captain Sabina Brown.
“We’ve struggled a few games against them with numbers but I think we’ve got them this time.”
“Our biggest threat are West, but it’s always a good game between us,” said Alma captain Phaige Hocking.
“Both teams want to win and we do get a bit rough but what else would you expect?
“Each team’s played a good game this season and I’m glad that it’s West and Alma in grand finals.”
While both sides had quality across the park, each captain said there were a few opposition players they were wary of.
“Bronte’s really strong on the ball, she’s hard to push off,” said Sabina.
“And Phaige, she’s too quick for me.”
“Mahana (Hebbard) with her pace up forward,” added West co-captain Jasmine Mitchell.
“It’s really just their forward line that we need to look out for, and Jasmine in the back line because we can’t get past her,” said Phaige.
“We usually play on the ground, but then they’re strong on the ball just as much as we are, so it’s kind of fifty-fifty.”
The captains all said though that improvements to their team throughout the season had made a big difference.
“We’ve had a lot of players this season that have got a lot better and improved really quickly, and they’re the sneaky ones that are scoring all the goals,” said Sabina.
“There has been some dominant games with big divides in scoring but everyone keeps turning up, trying their best and there hasn’t been any issues with behaviour this year.
“It’s been a really good season. Everyone’s been good sports this season.”
“We’ve done well ... we’ve really put in a 110%, not only (for) our trainings but our games,” said Phaige.
WHAT: Women’s Soccer Grand Final
WHEN: 2pm today
WHERE: Broken Hill Soccer Grounds