Victoria earned the Jones-Millman Cup in the inaugural Battle of the States 2-1 on Saturday, September 23, in front of a packed crowd at The Home of the Matildas.
South Melbourne’s Danielle Wise and Heidelberg’s Steph Galea found the back of the net for Victoria and Abigail Evetts scored for the visiting side in a welcome return to senior state representation football.
Victoria captain Danielle Wise said her team “clicked really well” for a team that had only trained twice together.
“Ï think it is really important that we bring the states together and play against each other,” she said.
“For most of us, we haven’t played together so it was surprising to see it work so well (the team click), and I am very grateful to be able to play with some of the best players in our NPL Women’s competition.
The match started with a bang, as Alamein’s Sidney Allen beautifully set up Galea for the opening goal of the match inside the first two minutes.
Queensland looked to find a quick reply with multiple quality attacks on goal within 15 minutes, however, Bulleen’s Gabby Garton came to the rescue with a crucial save.
Victoria were able to regain control as the match ticked past 20 minutes when Margot Robinne and Sidney Allen combined to set up Akiesha Sandhu for the long cross who found captain Wise at the far post, doubling the lead.
Sofie Persson nearly got the first goal back for the visitors in the 34th minute with an inspirational charging run forward, getting past two opponents, but keeper Gabby Garton was able to get a hand on the cross-goal pass.
Francesca Iermano’s superb vision and passing was then on display as she found Margot Robinne out the back and looked certain to find the back of the net once she got past the keeper, but pure desperation on the line from the Queensland defence ensuring the score remained 2-0.
Queensland came back out after the half-time break full of steam with Kallie Peurifoy prompting Garton into a save and giving her side a corner.
Captain Tegan Riding then whipped the ball in from the far corner and the ball managed to find its way into the back of the net, closing the margin to one.
In the 51st minute, Kalli Peurifoy had an opportunity to level the match as she intercepted a Kristina Hall defensive pass but sent her shot into the La Trobe University car park instead of on goal.
Gabby Garton then proved absolute in goals, getting a hand to a Tegan Riding cutback which would have provided Queensland another shot on goal. Seconds later, Queensland was on the offensive again with Tegan Riding sending another powerful shot into the bottom corner, but Garton once again was able to keep the ball out.
Victorian defender Montanna Mathews gave her side a free-kick opportunity after she was taken down close to the box. Kristina Hall then stepped up and threaded the needle beautifully for Galea, but the Heidelberg striker was unable to make a meaningful connection to the ball as it went out for a spot-kick.
Riding had her most promising attack on goal in the 74th minute, dribbling past two defenders on a run that started past the halfway line, however just as she was able to shoot Anna Liacopoulos came in with a timely challenge for Victoria, as any hope of a free kick was waved away.
Queensland’s Momo Hayashi had a chance to threaten the Victorian defence from a free kick on the edge of the box in the 79th minute, but Garton was once again well-placed. The energetic forward was involved in most of her side’s attacks and was impressive when it came to aerial duels.
With the game slipping away, Queensland continued to fight and had two late chances but were unable to convert, ensuring Victoria came away with a 2-1 victory.
Victoria’s Akiesha Sandhu was named the Player of the Match.