Gerringong Breakers ladies football first and reserve grade teams have been successful in defending their 2016 premierships and completing a hat-trick of titles on Tuesday night at Ison Park.
The reigning competition champions in the Shoalhaven district football competition completed the double after dominant seasons, winning first and reserve grade championships and premierships in 2015, 2016.
In the first grade final, Gerringong were immediately under pressure as the strong Illaroo team pressed for an early advantage.
After 10 minutes of constant pressure Illaroo were rewarded in a goal mouth scramble, up 1-0.
The Breakers responded well and soon were creating opportunities of their own – Chloe Café and Zoe Cook shutting Illaroos spaces down and started to create some good attacking passages.
Quality goal keeping by Illaroo was all that stopped the Breakers from equalising.
Breakers’ attacking duo of Claire Farquhar and Georgia Culey looked eager to get on the score sheet – desperate defence kept them at bay.
Defensively the Breakers were continually tested with speed of the Illaroo attack keeping the Breakers on their toes, Lauren Mulhall with safe hands in goals.
Tara Culey and Audrey Pring adjusted to the counter attacks, and both made forays in to the attacking zone.
Culey set up a great opportunity, the resulting shot slide by the post, while Ange Bowen and Mel Bonney kept the skillful Illaroo players in wide zones and the fast entertaining football continued until half time.
Second half started brightly for the Breakers and player of the match Chloe Café made a run eluding three defenders to get a sharp cross over which was met by a great volley from Claire Farquhar, bringing the score to 1-1.
Young rising stars Bella and Mysti Foye were tireless on the flanks linking with the strikers and making great defensive runs.
Ellie Burley off the bench after full reserve grade game made a solid effort and her poise on the ball was remarkable for such a young player.
As the half wore, on the Breakers gained the upper hand and went close to scoring on many occasions, the Illaroo keeper making some crucial saves once raking the ball back millimetres from the goal line.
As extra time beckoned the end to end football continued as both teams desperately tried to snatch victory.
20 minutes of extra time could not separate the teams, neither giving up.
Three good penalties each, and the crowd realised it was going to be a dramatically close finish.
Gerringong hit the cross bar then illaroo scored, giving them the advantage.
Then Gerringong’s keeper heroically saved three of the next four penalties to see Breakers to victory.
Café scored the winning penalty.
Illaroo was valiant in defeat in an enthralling game and a great spectacle for all.
Reserve grade ran out 4-1 victors over Callala.
It was a fast and furious start with Callala pressing early and straining the Breakers defender Ash Camilleri
and Carly Abbot.
Callala’s wide players were dangerous and Sarah Cafe worked extremely hard to thwart her skilled opponent.
Emily Watts assisted and her skill gave Breakers much-needed possession, her passing in behind Callala’s defence gave the Breakers’ defence a reprieve.
Breakers engine-room of Eliza Berry and Ellie Burley soon found their feet and thieir work with the ball was fantastic.
A neat passing move saw Breakers ahead 1-0 after a classy finish from Audrey Pring.
Callala soon hit back, scoring from a penalty kick 1-1 at halftime.
After a hard-fought, tough half of football Millie Mansfield succumbed to a knee injury.
In the second half, Breakers soon started to dominate.
Zoe Cook scored after some nice lead up work from Rachel Rowley and Berry.
Soon after, substitute Georgia Culey scored to give Breakers a two-goal cushion and shortly after Lauren Mulhall scored from a quick Berry throw-in, outpacing the defence and chipping the keeper in.
Callala continued to press and almost scored on a couple of occasions.
Good keeping and last ditch defence from Keely Doherty kept them out.
A resounding victory to the young Breakers team, mostly under the age of 17.
They play with zest and maturity well beyond their years.
The Breakers would like to send a big shout out to the large crowd of supporters whom braved the cold conditions to watch two enthralling games.