Manor Lakes rises to the top

Manor Lakes
Manor Lakes' Lindsay Newton. Picture Luke Hemer

By Lance Jenkinson

Two brilliant goals from Manor Lakes full forward Kellee McIntosh has turned the Western Region Football League women’s minor premiership race on its head.

The Storm moved to the top of the ladder after a thrilling four-point win in a low-scoring scrap over Caroline Springs at Howqua Reserve on Sunday morning.

McIntosh stole the highlights reel with a running goal where she took three bounces in the wet and a dribbled a goal from the boundary.

“They were great goals,” Storm coach Nathan Smithwick said.

“They were remarkable goals in the weather.”

McIntosh was the leading goalkicker in the competition with 83 goals in Manor Lakes’ run to the premiership last season.

She has not been as prolific this season, though her 40 goals, including bags of eight, nine and 10, see her sitting in third spot in the rankings.

A huge finals campaign could be on the cards for McIntosh.

“She was really strong up forward today,” Smithwick said.

“Her getting up to full fitness in the forward line is starting to terrorise some of the opposition.”

This was certainly not a one-woman show for Manor Lakes.

To knock Caroline Springs off top spot, it took all 22 players to contribute.

“It was a great team effort,” Smithwick said.

“They all deserved it, they all did their job and, to their credit, they got the result.”

Manor Lakes captain Cara Dunshea and defender Lindsay Newton both staked a claim for best-on-ground honours.

Dunshea thrived in the wet conditions, bossing her way to the ball in contested situations.

Dunshea’s leadership is one of the Storm’s greatest assets and that was on full display once again.

“She stood up strong in a big game,” Smithwick said.

“She leads by example, she’s tough, nothing fazes her.

“She’ll listen to anything the coaches ask her to do and she’ll do anything for her team and that makes her a great captain.”

Newton could not be stopped at centre half-back.

One of the best two-way players in the league, Newton was able to contain her opponent, while also offering drive out of defence.

“They tried to tag her out of the game,” Smithwick said.

“They did with a little bit of effect but Lindsay was still one of the best players on the ground.”

Rachel Court and Carly Riddock were outstanding in defence for Manor Lakes, helping restrict Caroline Springs to two goals.

Yana Frontczak was the Storm’s other goalkicker, taking her season tally to 38 goals.

Smithwick was thrilled to come away with a victory that puts Manor Lakes into premiership favouritism.

Manor Lakes will take on fifth-placed Point Cook Centrals in the final round at Howqua Reserve on Saturday evening. The Sharks will enter on the back of a disappointing 20-point loss to Werribee Centrals.