Fairytale finish for Magpie Women’s side in AFL Central Vic

The Magpie Women celebrate their much deserved victory. Photo: SAA Imaging.
The Magpie Women celebrate their much deserved victory. Photo: SAA Imaging.

Season 2022 of the Central Victoria Football League Women’s (CVFLW) came to an end on Friday night as Castlemaine triumphed over Golden Square 5.8 (38) to 2.7 (19) in a twilight Grand Final at the QEO.
The League was first established in 2018 and has come to be known as the premier country women’s football league in Victoria, regularly turning out players to the VFLW. This was Castlemaine Football Netball Club’s first season in the competition, having created its senior women’s side in late 2021. The newcomers have definitely proven their worth, winning all but one game during the season and coming out on top of the ladder.
CFNC Women’s Football Operations Manager Georgia Banks said Friday night’s clash against 2021 premiers Golden Square was always going to be a tough contest, especially considering their win over the Magpies in the semi-final only a fortnight earlier.
“That loss definitely lulled Square into a false sense of security which we were able to capitalise on Friday night. I don’t think they were ready for us to play our best,” Banks said.
Indeed, the Magpies came out energised and ready to compete, bolstered against their preliminary final win over Bendigo Thunder the week before and relaxed assurance they had nothing to lose and everything to gain.
The first quarter gave some clues as to the defensive capabilities of Castlemaine’s backline consisting of Michelle Barkla, Beppina Marshall and Taylah Sartori as Golden Square achieved eleven inside 50s to Castlemaine’s four, but the score remained very much even at 0.1 (1) to Square 0.2 (2).
The second term opened with a Castlemaine goal, lifting the intensity of the match as the crowd realised they had a game on their hands. The ball remained in the Castlemaine forward 50 and they managed a total of two goals from four scoring opportunities for the quarter. Castlemaine’s Shelby Knoll achieving a memorable snap from the forward pocket. Golden Square fought back with one of their own, the score being Castlemaine 3.3 (21) to Golden Square 1.2 (8) at half time.
The third quarter was always going to be a make-it or break-it quarter for the Magpies, but they were well prepared for Golden Square’s surge. The younger side had the legs to run the larger QEO and took advantage of this, using the wings and opportunities to switch the ball where possible. The speed of players Aisling Tupper, Jemma Finning, Tia Davidge, and Captain Meg Ginnivan were too much for the Bulldogs who struggled to cover the distances required.
Golden Square’s game plan unravelled further as the Magpies kicked another two goals and kept the Bulldogs goalless for the quarter. A substantial crowd dressed in black and white lined the grandstand boundary – cheering as Ginnivan received a free-kick on the wing and played-on much to the surprise of Bulldogs Captain Amanda Carrod. As Golden Square scrambled to secure its defences the third term finished 5.8 (38) Castlemaine to 1.5 (11) Golden Square.
The three-quarter time speech by Castlemaine co-coach Jordan Cochrane focused on holding the lead and the Magpies did just that. A desperate Golden Square kept the ball within their forward 50 but struggled to convert in any substantial way, kicking one goal for the fourth term and keeping the Magpies scoreless. Castlemaine remained composed and with a minute to go the sideline chant began from a proud crowd of supporters who had travelled up the Calder to watch their team win.
The final score was Castlemaine 5.8 (38) to Golden Square 2.7 (19) as the Magpies secured the Premiership – a happy ending to their fairytale first season. Castlemaine’s goal kickers were Shelby Knoll 2, Jemma Finning 2 and Ella Cochrane 1. Castlemaine’s Aisling Tupper was awarded ‘Best on Ground’ for the match.
In a statement from the club, thanks go to all who have supported the team in its inaugural season. It certainly has been a season to remember and we can’t wait to see the team go from strength-to-strength in years to come.
For those interested in getting involved in female football, the Castlemaine Football Netball Club will again be running it’s free Girls Summer Series for those aged 10-18 years which is a great no-commitment way to either try footy for the first time, or maintain skills over the season break. For dates, please visit www.castlemainefootballnetballclub.com.au or visit the junior club social media pages on Facebook and Instagram.

The elation was clear for all to see as the Castlemaine side celebrated their victory. Photo: SAA Imaging.
Lisa Dennis
Editor of the Castlemaine Mail newspaper and senior journalist on our sister paper the Midland Express. Over the last 24 years Lisa been proudly reporting news in the Mount Alexander and Macedon Ranges communities.