Mia-Rae Clifford and Meg Hutchins chase down the wet ball. Photo: Essendon FC

Essendon pulled off one of the great wins of the VFLW season, with captain Georgia Nanscawen sitting out the second half in wet and freezing conditions.

A half-time injury scare to Essendon captain Georgia Nanscawen was every chance to break the Saturday morning clash with the Hawks wide open at Box Hill City Oval.

The score line read Hawthorn’s 1.5.11 to Essendon’s 1.2.8, with miserly conditions keeping the ball slippery.

Nanscawen didn’t rejoin her team for the second half warm up, making her way to the bench as vice-captain Courtney Ugle riled her side up.

Coach Brendan Major said keeping the skipper off was in the interest of playing it safe.

“It’s a lower leg, pretty precautionary to keep her off,” he told The Inner Sanctum.

“She was raring to go on the bench and really keen to get back out there.”

A goalless third quarter was played out under torrential rainfall, both sides combining for five behinds.

The Bombers would steamroll their way to victory, kicking three final quarter goals.

Federica Frew and Mia-Rae Clifford converted close to goal, while Nat MacDonald snapped a miracle banana from the tightest of boundary line angles.

Major put most of the scoring and ball fumbling woes down to the wet conditions.

“We liked a lot of what we saw in the first half, but we couldn’t be clean,” he said.

“We always had good faith that they would respond.”


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Calder Cannons duo Zali Friswell and Kasey Lennox made their debuts in Bombers colours as a part of the partnership between the two sides.

Friswell was one of the players who flipped a switch in the second half.

“She [Friswell] probably is a perfect example of how the game went for us,” Major said.

“In the first half, she wasn’t as clean, couldn’t get a good grab at the ball. Her defensive efforts were good, she didn’t drop her head.

“When the game was on the line, she really got us going.

“We’re trying to create a culture of not overthinking the game, taking the game on, and showing an exciting brand of football.

“Players like Lizzy Hosking, Alex Morcom, [Marianna] Anthony, [Grace] Dicker, Nat MacDonald, Alana Barba, get the ball on the outside and just go.”

The Hawks had the likes of Isabelle Khoury and Eloise Chaston from the Eastern Ranges, making for exciting viewing for AFLW recruiters.

Chaston managed 1.3 from plenty of opportunities forward, demonstrating her pace and leading out of the 50 metre arc.

Her inaccuracy was telling of the Hawks as a whole, who finished with one goal and 10 behinds.

With more AFLW players beginning to return into the VFLW, Major is excited for what the rest of the season holds.

“We’re not sure how many AFL players will come to us just yet,” he said.

“The big thing for me is that it’s exciting.

“Alana Barba has shown that against VFL players, she can be a stand out. We’re a development club, we need to get people drafted.

“It gives us an opportunity. They get to go up against good AFLW players.

“There’s no replacement for experience.”

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