On Tuesday 15 August, the NIHS Girls AFL team travelled to Thebarton Oval to compete in the Division 3, State Knockout Grand Final against Kapunda High School.
In what was a picturesque atmosphere, the girls entered the venue full of confidence on the back of a string of recent successes in the lead up matches.
As to be expected, the first period of play was tense and heavily contested which was aided by a slippery ball as a result of surface dew. Coming into the first change, there was very little to separate the sides who both had a goal each to their name. The second term saw the conditions dry, and with that a surge of Norwood momentum leading to a flurry of goals in relatively quick succession, giving the girls a healthy four goal buffer heading into the main break of half time.
Returning from the break Kapunda responded, taking hold of momentum and adding to the scoreboard with goals of their own, closing the gap to within 2 goals at the third and final break. The stage was set for an epic last quarter.
The opening stanza of the final term can only be described as 'manic', as both sides poured it all out to gain the ascendancy. Kapunda were first to strike however, closing the gap to a nerve racking 7-point margin with plenty of time left on the clock. Enter Liana, who emerged from a mad scramble in the forward line to miraculously steer the ball through the goals, steadying the NIHS ship and all but sealing the result.
NIHS - 6.4 - 40
KHS - 4.4 - 27
The win marked the first Statewide Knockout Championship title for NIHS in Girls AFL across its 20+ year existence, a tremendous achievement and just reward for effort.
Special mentions must go to Polly, who was arguably best on ground, rarely losing a contest and asserting her dominance four quarters, Liana who kicked 3 goals, contributing heavily to the sides success, Grace who captained the team across the tournament, displaying outstanding form and strong leadership. Lara, Matilda, Lola and Zina also made noticeable contributions on the day.
Thanks also to Kris Vanderloo and Tom Smales for their coaching/management support throughout the tournament.
Looking forward to the title defence in 2024!