Raiders take all in Grand Final thriller

The Urunga Raiders completed an immaculate season with a 3-2 Grand Final victory over the Boambee Eagles.

The Raiders entered the contest with a 100 per cent record following 14 straight victories and were red hot favourites to lift the silverware.

However, the resilient Eagles had other ideas and came with a game plan to thwart the Urunga passing game and it paid dividends after five minutes when the Eagles won the ball of the middle park and quickly distributed to their star striker Kylie McDonald who rounded the goalkeeper and slotted it home to give the Eagles an early lead.

As the crowd sensed a Grand Final upset, it was the assured instructions from Urunga coach Trevor Martin that echoed through the Urunga team: "The goal changes nothing, stick to the game plan."

The team stuck to the plan and put on a master class of passing and possession football which starved the resilient Eagles of possession and resulted in three goals scored by Belinda Moore (penalty), Willow Neal and Kate Fry before half time.

The vocal crowd were treated to a second half contest of end to end football and when Kylie McDonald scored a second half goal for the Eagles the supporters were on the edge of their seats.

The Boambee goal was bombarded with waves of attacks but the resilience of Alissa Tate kept her team in the game and inspired the Eagles to respond with their own counter attacks.

Boambee coach Neil Witherdin gave us a tactical insight into the game.

"Basically we knew we couldn't match Urunga in a possession-based game, they are ahead in that area. However we went in with a game plan that could better suit our group," he said.

"We started quite well but with Urunga's constant pressure and speed we became overwhelmed and they made us pay with three unanswered goals.

"In the second half we were able to stay more composed when we were under pressure. This allowed us to create some chances of our own. With our goal keeper Allissa Tate having the game of her career and with some desperate defence we kept ourselves in the contest."

The popularity of the Women's game on the Coffs Coast continues to grow and the sportsmanship and spirit from the coaches may explain why.

"In the end Urunga were simply too good as they have been all year. The Boambee girls were brave in defeat and kept trying to win right till the end. No one could ask more than the effort they put in. Congratulations to Urunga on a stellar season, there is a lot of hard work that goes into getting a team to play that well," Boambee coach Neil Witherdin said.