No room for error for Bendigo Thunder ahead of preliminary final against VU Western Spurs

TENACIOUS: Bendigo Thunder's Andrea Wilson. The Thunder play the VU Western Spurs on Sunday.
TENACIOUS: Bendigo Thunder's Andrea Wilson. The Thunder play the VU Western Spurs on Sunday.

A SEASON that has promised plenty for the Bendigo Thunder now has no room for error.

The Thunder were the dominant team of the Northern Women’s Football League, winning their first 13 games.

But their past two games have both been defeats – to Darebin by 13 points in the final home and away round, and 11 points against Diamond Creek in last week’s second semi-final.

They now face the VU Western Spurs in Sunday’s preliminary final at Preston City Oval from 1.30pm.

“Our focus at training this week has been on regrouping, but also a bit of soul searching in terms of the girls asking themselves why they play footy and what they want to get out of the year,” Thunder coach Cherie O’Neill said on Friday.

“We’ve had a really positive vibe this week and the girls are keen to have a red-hot crack on Sunday.”

O’Neill says she didn’t see any signs late in the home and away season pointing to the past two defeats.

“It has been a big year for the girls after a fairly long pre-season, but my job as coach is to ignite that passion in them again and get them working together as a team,” O’Neill said.

“The girls all know what they’ve got to do, but it’s a matter of wanting to go out and do it and that’s what we need this Sunday.”

The Thunder and VU Western Spurs met once during the home and away season, with Bendigo winning by 20 points – 6.6 (42) to 3.4 (22) – at the QEO in round nine.

Helping with the positive vibe around the club this week has been the Thunder’s reserves team winning the inaugural Northern Country Women’s League premiership last Sunday.

• Bendigo Thunder team:

B: Bonnie Pearson, Sarah Baldwin, Hannah Perry

HB: Leah French, Michelle Barkla, Andrea Wilson

C: Laura Flanagan, Billie-Lee Humphrey, Emily Findlay

HF: Andrea Walsh, Jac Louttit, Ayrlea Bailey-McClanahan

F: Kodi Jacques, Amanda Carrod, Aisling Tupper

R: Jess Ross, Kerryn Harrington, Tiahna Cochrane

Inter: Jackie Radnell, Sarah Moerke, Louise Bibby, Samantha May, Ruby Campbell, Yasmin Colley, Abbey Hay