The Southern Saints suffered a 10-point loss at the hands of Essendon on Saturday afternoon, dropping to fifth place with one round to go in the VFLW season.
Essendon continued its unbeaten run, despite a fourth-quarter comeback from the Saints, breaking the home side’s four-game win streak to salute 5.6 (36) to 4.2 (26) victors at Wilson Storage Trevor Barker Beach Oval.
The Southern Saints snatched control over proceedings initially, hitting the scoreboard early, but were left to rue missed opportunities, in what could have been a more sizeable lead.
The Bombers, led by Georgia Nanscawen and Marianna Anthony, proved superiority around stoppages, dominating the clearance battle 37-26, as the Saints endured two goalless quarters and scoring one behind in the third.
The Saints entered the final term chasing a 13-point buffer, down two rotations with Charlotte Ryan (ankle) and Ebony Nixon (hamstring) both assessed for their injuries.
The pressure ramped up for the Saints as Olivia Flanagan (two goals, three tackles) broke through for her second goal early in the fourth quarter, while Chanelle Slater’s (two goals) second major narrowed the margin to just two points.
Hannah Stuart continued her impressive season with a match-leading 23 disposals, six tackles and six clearances, while Alana Woodward (19 disposals, three clearances, four tackles) also made a solid impact.
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Gabriella De Angelis (13 disposals, nine tackles, three clearances) was a promising connection between the midfield and forward group and Pia Staltari (15 disposals, one clearance) was a shining light for the Saints.
The Bombers continued to push the ball forward, proving their strength against a valiant Saints outfit, adding a major score in the final term to come out 10-point winners.
With just one match left to play this season, all places in the top-six remain up for grabs.
The Southern Saints will host North Melbourne at Trevor Barker Beach Oval on Saturday 29 May beginning at 9:45am.
SOUTHERN SAINTS 2.1 2.1 2.2 4.2 (26)
ESSENDON 0.1 3.2 4.3 5.6 (36)
Southern Saints: Flanagan 2, Slater 2
Essendon: Clifford 2, Frew 2, Dicker