Bendigo Thunder takes care of Melbourne University with 46-point win

STRONG GRAB: Bendigo Thunder's Michelle Barkla marks at the QEO on Sunday.

STRONG GRAB: Bendigo Thunder's Michelle Barkla marks at the QEO on Sunday.

THE Bendigo Thunder again took care of business on Sunday with another win to continue their season of dominance, while some of what could be future stars of the club were also on show at the QEO beforehand.

The Thunder improved their Northern Football League Women’s record to 13-0 with a 46-point win on what was a celebration of women’s football in Bendigo.

Before the Thunder’s 9.5 (59) to 2.1 (13) win, a clinic for primary school girls was held, giving some of the region’s youngsters the chance to put their skills on show on the famous QEO.

“We had a good crowd there today and it was really good to see a lot of young girls taking part in the clinic before the game,” Thunder coach Cherie O’Neill said.

In what was a game that turned into a slog as heavy rain fell, the Thunder’s strong start while conditions were at their best proved pivotal in setting up their win over Melbourne University.

ON THE BURST: Bendigo Thunder's Tiahna Cochrane shows pace at the QEO as she played another starring game to continue her superb form. Pictures: DARREN HOWE

ON THE BURST: Bendigo Thunder's Tiahna Cochrane shows pace at the QEO as she played another starring game to continue her superb form. Pictures: DARREN HOWE

The Thunder kicked the only four goals of the opening term – including two to Samantha May – to build a 26-point advantage at quarter-time, 4.3 to 0.1.

“We focused before the game about the need to make a really strong start, and that became more important given it started raining in the second quarter and scoring dried up with a lot of turnovers,” O’Neill said.

Melbourne Uni – a top-four side – kicked its first goal early in the second quarter.

RACE IS ON: Bendigo Thunder's Billie-Lee Humphrey chases the ball against Melbourne Uni.

RACE IS ON: Bendigo Thunder's Billie-Lee Humphrey chases the ball against Melbourne Uni.

The visitors’ only other goal came halfway through the final quarter, with Sunday the ninth time in their 13 games this season the Thunder have held their opposition to two goals or less.

On-baller Tiahna Cochrane continued her outstanding form to again be the Thunder’s best player.

The Thunder have rated Cochrane among their best players six games in a row.

“She’s absolutely smashing it at the moment… she is playing consistently and reading the ball really well,” O’Neill said.

Jac Louttit

Jac Louttit

“She quietly goes about her business, but every time she gets a possession something positive happens.”

Teenager Kodi Jacques, who was part of the midfield rotation and kicked one goal, was also one of the Thunder’s top performers in what was the side’s 32nd win in its past 33 games.

Thunder key forward Andrea Walsh outscored Melbourne Uni off her own boot, kicking three goals to lift her season tally to 46.

HARD BALL GET: Ayrlea Bailey-McLanahan kicked one goal for the Bendigo Thunder.

HARD BALL GET: Ayrlea Bailey-McLanahan kicked one goal for the Bendigo Thunder.

The Thunder rounds out its home and away season with an away game against Darebin next Sunday.

• Match details:

Bendigo Thunder 4.3, 4.4, 8.5, 9.5 (59) d Melbourne University 0.1, 1.1, 1.1, 2.1 (13).

Goals – A. Walsh 3, S. May 2, A. Bailey-McLanahan, K. Harrington, A. Hay, K. Jacques 1. Best – T. Cochrane. K. Jacques, A. Hay, L. Bibby, B. Humphrey, K. Harrington.