Place: 4th (Lost in Semi-Final to West Brunswick AFC)
Record: 9 wins, 5 losses
Leading Goalkicker: Shaylee Taylor 30 (Leader in Premier Division)

After two seasons of success, with one Premiership from two Grand Finals, our Sheagles season was cut short in 2019. Although this has been a step down from previous years, their 2019 campaign still came with success as always.

After a pre-season coaching change saw Tom Stafford leave the club and Luke Boyd step in as Senior Coach, our Sheagles in 2019 was looking different from Round 1.

Under the leadership of Anja Marshallsay, the season began. Facing the eventual 3 other finalists in the first 3 rounds, our Seniors fell to Old Trinity, West Brunswick and St Kevins. Going 0-3 was not the way this successful Womens program would have liked to have started, but these losses did come with some positives. The margins of these losses were 16 (Old Trinity), 20 (West Brunswick), and 18 (St Kevins), which shows that none of these defeats ever came from blowouts and that our Seniors were competitive every week. As well as this we began to see the dominance of Shaylee Taylor in front of goals, who in the first three games already had 9 of her 30 goals to her name.

The tough start did not last long, as the Seniors rallied back in the next few games to get them to 4-3. Close wins against St Mary’s Salesian, Kew and Fitzroy were capped off by a 79pt demolition of reigning premiers Melbourne University. These wins gave the Seniors a real reminder as to how dominant they have, and can, truly be in the Premier Division, and set them up for a successful season. Lani Pane continued her fine form throughout these victories, with players such as Teah Stepan and VAFA International Rules Representative Nat Gills also being vital to the Seniors revitalised success. Taylor continued her goalkicking rampage, kicking 3 or more goals in every game of the teams 4 game win streak.

Their win streak was snapped in Round 8, as the team fell to St Mary’s Salesian by just 2pts. From there, it was a mixed bag of results. They defeated Kew at home, then travelled to Old Trinity where they were soundly defeated. Our Seniors sat with a 5-5 record, facing down the barrel of potentially falling out of the top 4 for the first time in history. However, in Round 11 our Seniors had a season-defining victory as they defeated eventual premiers St Kevins by 1pt. From there, our Seniors finished the season on a tear. They welcomed back VFL player Nat Macdonald in Round 12 when they defeated Melbourne University again, they came from behind in the 4th quarter in a gutsy win against West Brunswick, and they put away Fitzroy in Round 14 to secure a home final.

Our Seniors had a 1-1 regular season record against West Brunswick, and it was anyones game come the Semi Final. The game started close, with it only being a 1pt deficit after the 1st quarter. West Brunswick jumped out to a 13pt lead at the half, in which the Seniors finally kicked their first goal in the 3rd quarter to make it a 6pt game. Ultimately, it became the teams inability to capitalise in front of goal that cost them in the end, falling to West Brunswick even though they had 10 scoring shots to 5. The Seniors had grinded out every single game they had played this year, and unfortunately they fell just short of advancing to the Grand Final for the first time in history.

With a season that just fell short of glory, it would be wrong to say it did not come with success. The team had stretches of greatness, having 3+ win streaks at two different points in the season. Although players were lost throughout the season due to VFL commitments, injuries or travel, vital pieces such as Pane, Gills and the returning Laura Robertson truly stepped up in any absences. Annie Xanthos and Maggie Antypas were also able to give consistent performances that contributed greatly to the teams success.

As well as this, there were some individual achievements throughout the year:

  • Nat Gills – VAFA International Rules Representative
  • Steph Bridge (Round 5) and Amber Micaleff (Round 13) – Anytime Fitness Rising Star Nominations
  • Maggie Antypas, Tessa Zagontinos, Shaylee Taylor and Ellie Gavalas – Big V Womens Squad
  • Maggie Antypas, Tessa Zagontinos and Shaylee Taylor – Big V Womens Final Team
  • Shaylee Taylor – Premier Division Leading Goalkicker
  • Tom Stafford – Big V Womens Head Coach

This season, we were encouraged to embrace both success and challenge. We constantly reflected on our strengths, weaknesses, aspirations and setbacks.

It was then really exciting to see girls achieve their goals and develop their skills. It was also rewarding to witness the unity of players to face weekly challenges together, as a team 

– Lani Pane

We congratulate all Senior Women players for hard work and contribution to the 2019 season, and we look forward to what 2020 will bring.