THE Gerringong Breakers women's football first and reserve grade teams played in their fourth consecutive grand finals at Ison Park Nowra recently.
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The reigning Shoalhaven District Football Association competition premiers almost completed the double again after each notching up dominant seasons.
The first grade side was unsuccessful, going down in a narrow defeat to Illaroo, however reserve grade retained their premiership title.
After successes in 2015, 2016 and 2017, they were out to back it up again in 2018.
The Yintec sponsored first grade side was off to a great start with a early goal to Georgia Culey, after a Claire Farquhar assist.
They were immediately under pressure, as the strong Illaroo team pressed for a get back on level terms, the Breakers were called upon to defend stoutly, absorbing many Illaroo attacks.
After 15 minutes, Illaroo’s constant pressure was rewarded after a good corner was headed home, and the score was locked at 1-all.
Illaroo pressed again and a clever short corner saw a great shot into the top corner of the Breakers’ goal, making it 2-1 to Illaroo.
The Breakers responded well and soon created opportunities of their own. Chloe Café set up Culey, but the shot skimmed wide of the post, the game was end to end with both defences working hard.
Illaroo found some space, a neat through ball was finished well, and Illaroo led 3-1.
The Breakers fought back and applied some pressure on Illaroo’s defence, Bella Foye and Rachel Thering were dangerous on the wings, but were unable to get a decent shot on target.
Illaroo shut the spaces down, thwarting some good attacking passages of play.
The final touch and some good goal keeping was all that stopped them getting another goal before half-time.
The second half was a tight affair, with Illaroo counter attacking.
The Breakers’ attacking duo, Claire Farquhar and Georgia Culey, looked eager to get on the score sheet, only desperate defence kept them at bay.
Defensively, the Breakers were continually tested, with the speed of the Illaroo attack keeping the Breakers on their toes.
Anne Boatswain had safe hands in goals.
Tara Culey and Audrey Pring kept up the hard work, adjusting to the counter attacks, with both making forays into the attacking zone.
Tara set up a great opportunity and the resulting shot slid by the post. Mel Bonney kept the skilful Illaroo players in wide zones with fast entertaining football.
The good crowd was on the edge of their seats.
Midway through the half, the Breakers struck back and after constant pressure and a neat from Ash Camilleri, Chloe Café scored to get them back in the game, but Illaroo struck again soon after to go up 4-2, which took the wind out of the Breakers’ sails.
A couple of opportunities were created by the Breakers, but in the end Illaroo proved to strong running out winners 4-2.
The Breakers were valiant in defeat, in what was an enthralling game and a great spectacle for all.
Reserve grade ran out 4-nil victors over Illaroo.
In a fast and furious start, Illaroo pressed early and strained the Breakers’ defence, Ellie Burley and Carly Abbot were solid in defence.
Illaroo’s wide players were dangerous and Sarah Cafe worked extremely hard to thwart her opponent, Emily Watts and Mysti Foye soon asserted their dominance and Gerringong started to dominate midfield.
Breakers started to hold possession, while linking passes to forwards, behind Illaroo’s defence, gave the Breakers’ defence a reprieve.
The Breakers’ strikers soon found their feet and Amy Café finished off a neat passing move to slot home the first goal.
More neat midfield play created headaches for the Illaroo defence.
The Breakers’ work with the ball was fantastic, a neat passing move saw them further ahead after a classy finish from Zoe Cook, and they led 2-nil.
Illaroo tried to get back in the game, but some good keeping kept them at bay.
The score remained 2-nil at half-time.
After an exciting 40 minutes, neither team was giving anything away, each tackling strongly and playing very competitive football.
During the hard fought tough half of football, Chrissie Woods was solid in defence and her probing passes down the flanks gave Rachel Malin plenty of space.
In the second half, the Breakers soon started to dominate again, with Paige Glennan working tirelessly and almost getting an assist as Watts shot over the bar.
Zoe Cook scored after some nice lead-up work from Bella Foye and Watts, the Breakers led 3-nil.
Soon after, Amy Café scored her second goal in a classy finish, outpacing the defence and chipping the keeper in, to make it 4-nil to the Breakers.
Illaroo continued to press and almost scored on a couple of occasions, but good keeping and strong defence from Brooke Wensly kept them out.
It was a resounding victory to the quality, young Breakers team, which backed up after last year’s success.
A big shout out to the large crowd of supporters who went to watch two enthralling games of football
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