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VFLW: Saints clinch win in thriller

The Southern Saints have won their fourth game straight after defeating Box Hill in a nail-biter. - St Kilda Saints,AFLW
The Southern Saints have won their fourth game straight after defeating Box Hill in a nail-biter.
A couple of players played their best footy for the year, so hopefully they keep growing.
Peta Searle

The Saints have won their fourth game in a row after defeating Box Hill in a nail-biter at Box Hill City Oval on Saturday afternoon in wet conditions.

Kate Shierlaw proved the hero, kicking the match-winner with seven minutes left on the clock as the Saints came out 2.2 (14) to 2.5 (17) winners.

Wet and wild conditions marred the contest from the outset, with both sides struggling for clean ball use.

But it was the Saints who controlled the footy, playing the majority of the game in their forward half of the ground, often locking the ball inside 50 but ended the quarter with just one behind for their efforts.

As conditions cleared at the beginning of the second, the Saints again controlled the play.

The Saints finally got their reward four minutes before the main break, when Fiona Steiert was awarded a free kick for high contact, and she made no mistake with the set shot, kicking the game's first goal.

A Rhiannon Watt intercept mark seven minutes into the third term stopped the Hawks in their tracks.

The Saints played possession football, often finding space on the park, but their attacking efforts only saw two behinds added to their tally.

Box Hill then locked the ball in their 50m for the last five minutes of the term, but they went goalless as the Saints went into the last break with a seven-point advantage.

Box Hill scored their first goal of the game three minutes into the fourth, as they cut the deficit to make it a one-point ball game.

Another Box Hill goal moments later gave them a four-point lead midway through the last term.

The Saints threw everything they had at Box Hill as the clock wound down, and finally got their reward with just seven to play when Shierlaw was awarded a free kick.

She kicked truly from a tight angle to hand the Saints a three-point win.

Coach Peta Searle said it was a pleasing team performance, particularly when the game was on the line.

“It was pretty tight and the girls fought through it,” she told saints.com.au.

“I thought we probably shouldn’t have been in that position as we dominated the first quarter, but the midfield played well against a reasonably good midfield, and a couple of players played their best footy for the year, so hopefully they keep growing.

“I thought there was definitely enough time, and the way the game went, I thought we had control of the game for most of it.

“They (Box Hill) struggled to get the ball past halfway just because of the way we set up behind the ball, and the girls played their roles in doing that.”

The Southern Saints play Darebin next week, and herself a premiership-winning player and coach with the Falcons, Searle said they her Saints will be up for the challenge.

“Darebin, as we know, is a proud club,” Searle said.

“It’s the VFLW competition, and it's tight and every team has got some good players running around, and you have to be on your toes and be alert and be ready, otherwise any team can win on any given day."