Season over for Melton Centrals

Sally Martin was named in the team of the year. Picture Shawn Smits.

Melton Centrals will look back on the 2017 AFL Goldfields’ Women’s Football League season as a learning experience.

After being one of the stronger teams in the former Victorian Women’s Football League north-west competition the past two years, which included playing in two straight grand finals, Centrals were knocked out in an elimination final on Sunday.

Coach Janelle Martin said this year’s competition had been tough.

“We weren’t happy with the competition we’re in but we’ve stuck at it and got through,” she said.

“We’ve definitely got better every game.”

With two wins, Centrals finished fifth and secured the last finals berth. “I’m not sure how we got there,” Martin said before the weekend.

“Everyone knows what’s going to happen at the end of the season anyway, North Geelong will win easy.”

Centrals’ season came to end on Sunday, losing to East Point.

The Dragons kicked the only three goals of the first three quarters and led by 22 points at three-quarter time.

Centrals kicked two late goals but it wasn’t enough, losing 3.8 (26)-2.6 (18).

Sally Martin and Alice Masters were the goal-scorers for Centrals. Linda Morren and Kate Saleta were named the side’s best.

Martin said this season was a reality check playing against players of a higher level.

“It was a great experience for some players to learn what losing was.

“It has been a great experience for the players, but it has been hard as well. We lost some girls as it was too hard. We’ve been short on numbers for a lot of the season.”

Martin, who has had to pull on the jumper to help make up numbers in the team, said the wins were the highlights for the season.

“It’s been good for the new girls, who haven’t played in a win before. When you’re getting smashed [a win] is a confidence booster.”

Rachael Jackson, who had never played football before, was one player who has risen to the challenge.

Martin said next season loomed as an important one with at least 10 players looking to retire. A big chunk of the squad is aged over 30. Martin has also decided that she won’t continue coaching.

“I’m done,” she said.

“I started the club and I’ve done everything,

“I’ll make sure the club doesn’t die and it keeps running. We have a couple of youth girls who will come up, but we’ll need quite a few new players.”

Meanwhile, Sally Martin was named on the bench in the AFL Goldfields Women’s team of the year.