The VFLW Tigers have suffered their third defeat of the season, going down to Hawthorn by 13 points at Box Hill City Oval on Sunday.
Both teams were eager to make a fierce impression in their first meeting of the year, but the Hawks withstood a fast finish from the Tigers to run away with a 7.9 (51) to 6.2 (38) win.
It was a tight contest in the first term, with each team scoring two goals apiece with a one-point margin in the Hawks’ favour.
Grace Egan got the ball rolling for the Tigers with an early first-quarter goal, her first major in the Yellow and Black.
Egan continued to establish her presence across the four quarters as she collected 17 disposals and 13 kicks.
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Sabrina Frederick added another goal to her name shortly after, a kick from long range that sailed all the through to cut the Hawks’ lead to just one point.
But the Tigers grew lethargic after the first quarter, and the Hawks registered two more goals before half-time, leaving the Tigers scoreless for the second term.
The Hawks’ strong attack penetrated the Tigers’ defence, and the Tigers laboured as they tried to counteract it.
Both the Tigers and Hawks kicked two goals each in the third quarter, allowing the Hawks to hold onto their 16-point lead.
In a highlight of the day, Gabby Seymour booted her first goal as a Tiger, notably elevating the Tigers’ spirits.
The Tigers returned reinvigorated after the three-quarter time break and they matched the Hawks’ intensity in the final quarter.
Grace Campbell commanded the midfield, racking up 16 disposals and laying eight tackles.
The fourth term showcased the Tigers’ grit as they secured two majors and limited the Hawks to just one goal.
Unfortunately, however, it was too late for the Tigers to overcome the Hawks’ early advantage.
Despite the loss, coach Tom Hunter said he was pleased with the team’s strong finish.
“We knew it was going to be a challenge from the start, but I thought we played two really good quarters of footy, our first and our last,” Hunter said.
“We probably lost our way a little bit in the second and third.”
Courtney Wakefield returned from her three-week layoff refreshed, racking up four tackles and a goal, while Frederick asserted herself with two goals.
Frederick and Wakefield proved to be a deadly duo in the forward line.
Hunter said he looks forward to Wakefield and Frederick building their own signature style in the forward line.
“They’re two really dominant players in the air, and a couple more weeks of them playing together will get their synergy up,” Hunter said.
Hunter praised Frederick’s strong competitiveness.
“She competed really well, she took marks, she kicked goals [and it] shows what an exciting player she’s going to be for the club,” he said.
The VFLW Tigers will return for Round 12 against top-of-the-table Collingwood at the Swinburne Centre next Sunday, July 28 at 11.00am.