Kybybolite claim silverware

PREMIERS: Kybybolite's women's football team claimed the 2024 LCWFL premiership after a nail-biting grand final on Sunday. Pictures: NOEL BLACK

James Murphy

KYBYBOLITE 8.7 (55) d NORTH GAMBIER 8.3 (51)

IT came down to the final kick after the siren, but Kybybolite held on to win the 2024 Limestone Coast Women’s Football League premiership from fourth position.

The Northern Tigers met North Gambier in the grand final at Mundulla on the weekend and despite entering with the underdog status, claimed the silverware by four points.

It did not come without a fight and in the end North’s Chloe Newton lined up to decide the game after taking a mark before the siren.

The shot ultimatley missed and Kyby clinched a four-point win and the silverware.

The match was neck-and-neck throughout and both teams showed they meant business from the first centre bounce.

A couple of goals at both ends had Kyby up 14-13 at quarter time, before managing to set up a 10-point margin before the main break.

Kyby added three-goals-three in the second term, while North kicked two majors to enter half time with some work to do.

The Mount Gambier-based Tigers put in the hard yards in the “premiership” quarter and with three goals were able to claim the lead heading into the last.

“We would kick a couple of goals, then they would kick a couple and then we would come back,” Kybybolite coach Chris Bolton said.

“There was never really any more than about 10 points in it for the whole game.”

Kyby was able to find the middle of the big sticks twice in the final term, while adding two behinds, which put them five points clear late in the game.

However, a mark by Newton with 40 seconds on the clock took the result out of Kybybolite’s hands.

“I was standing right behind Chloe when she was lining up to kick after the siren and I didn’t know whether I should watch or not,” Bolton said.

“It was a pretty good kick off the boot and it looked like it was going through, but then it lost it’s way and missed by only about a metre and a half.

“It was very exciting.”

That behind brought North within four points of the win, but at the end of the day Kyby returned to premier status after a couple of seasons in the wilderness.

After finishing second, North booked the first spot in the decider with a qualifying final win over minor premier Mundulla.

Kyby booked its place in the big dance after a win against Casterton Sandford, followed by an upset over Mundulla in the preliminary.

Jedah Huff was the best of Kyby’s players on Sunday and she earned the title of best on ground for her efforts in the midfield.

“She copped a fair bit of attention from a couple of the North girls, but to her credit she just brushed it off and kept going for the ball,” Bolton said.

“It was really good for her to be rewarded – she was probably our best player the last two weeks.”

Maryann Thompson also impressed, while it was Taylor Ryan who topped the scoresheets with three majors.

Bolton credited Ryan on a strong season at full forward, while he also singled out a key performer on the day.

Summer Batchelor is only 14 but has proven capable in the Open women’s competition.

“She did really well to hold Laura Chester to only two goals,” Bolton said.

Dellie Brown, Ella Boston and Sophie Owen completed Kyby’s top performers on the day, with Boston scoring two goals as well.

Thompson snagged one major, while Lily Clifford-Finch and Elle Treloar also kicked truly with one each.

North was best served by Alice Tentye, who fought courageously for four quarters, with Georgia Gentile and Chloe Perryman also impressive.

League leading goal kicker Chloe Newton scored an equal game-high three goals, with Tentye also snagging three.

Laura Chester was the only other Tiger to find the big sticks, converting two majors.

Newton’s efforts had her ranked among the best players, while Fiona Young and Tess Andrews put in trademark performances to round out the list.

Kybybolite last won the LCWFL premiership in 2022, with the following year forcing the club into a massive rebuild.

“Kyby won the A Grade (in 2022) and then I took over as coach,” Bolton said.

“There were only three players left from that original side.

“To win the Div 2 last year and then go from fourth to top this year was exceptional by the girls.

“I think we had five girls in the team who had never played football before this year.

“The girls are still pinching themselves.”

North is yet to obtain the ultimate glory, but have been painstakingly close in the last two campaigns.

The club will surely regroup and look to go one step further in 2025.

PENOLA 7.6 (48) d SOUTH GAMBIER 1.2 (8)

PENOLA entered the Limestone Coast women’s football B grand final as a red-hot favourite against South Gambier.

The Eagles narrowly missed out on the A series finals and since then cruised their way into the big dance from fifth position.

The Demons fought hard to book there place in the B decider, knocking out Millicent and Kongorong respectively to secure a chance at the consolation premiership.

However, the Eagles were always going to be a tough opponent and at the end of Sunday’s match – which preceded the main decider – Penola emerged 40-point victors.

The Eagles wasted no time setting up a lead and were up by 14 points at the first change, holding South scoreless.

In fact, the Demons would be held to no score until the final stanza, where they finally broke through to score a goal and two behinds.

Penola on the other hand watched their lead steadily grow each quarter, with the gap out to 27 points by half time, then 36 at the final change.

Another two Eagles goals in the fourth kept South from reeling in the margin and at the final siren it was a seven-goal game.

It was no surprise to see Caroline McGrath once again leading Penola by example.

The Eagles’ captain and league best and fairest has put in an exceptional season and her work ethic around the ground never goes unnoticed.

Ellise Berkin was another standout, while Chloe McDiarmid, Heidi Berkin and Simone MacDonald were also recognised for their efforts.

Goals were shared around on the day, with MacDonald and McGrath bagging two each, while Heidi Berkin, Angela Broad and Lyndall Feast all scored one.

Not for the first time this season, South captain Jarrah Altschwager topped the best players for the Demons.

She was also the only one to find the big sticks, converting South’s only major for the day.

Alisha Stephens backed up a good preliminary final performance with another placing in the best, while Sophie Wight, Abby Thompson and Ella Guest also earned a mention.