Murray Bombers just one step away

By Brayden May

IT HAS taken just three seasons for Echuca Women's football side to become the dominant force in northern Victoria.

At the first training session at Victoria Park there were just 20 players, many of whom had never kicked a Sherrin competitively in their life.

Few could have predicted the rise of the Echuca's women's football side to where it finds itself now.

And yet here it is - Echuca has built itself into the best side in women's footy in our region.

And now, the Murray Bombers stand two hours away from their maiden premiership.

They booked their place in this year's Northern Country Women's League grand final with a 33-point victory over reigning premier Shepparton on Sunday.

"I'm just relieved we're there," coach Mick McInnes said.

"Finals are a completely different ball game and games often throw up unexpected results.

"I'm extremely pleased with the way everyone stood up when their moment came. Everyone who played, played their role perfectly."

While the game will be the Murray Bombers' first grand final as a team, McInnes has confidence his side will be able to handle the pressure.

"We've had a few girls play in premierships before - whether it has been in footy or other sports," he said.

"Their experience is going to be crucial because a grand final brings a different type of pressure, especially when you have finished the season on the top of the ladder.

"I've been really pleased with the way the girls have handled themselves this year and I'm confident they'll be able to do it again over the next two weeks.

"Our aim will be to keep everything familiar because our routine has held us in good stead throughout the year."

Against Shepparton, co-captain Jodie Lake continued to underline her importance to the side with four goals, while Kym Mundie set the tone for the day with a dominate ruck performance.

"Jodie's year has been sensational," McInnes said.

"As a stay-at-home forward she has continued to provide us with a strong target who makes the most of her opportunities.

"Kym has been building quite nicely in the second half of the year. I thought her third quarter was some of the best football she has played all year.

"She gave our midfielders first use and we were good enough to convert that into scoreboard pressure."

The Murray Bombers will face the winner of Mooroopna and Shepparton on August 25 at Deakin Reserve.