South West Firebirds took a huge step towards claiming the Division One title with an emphatic 4-0 win over Northern Redbacks on Sunday.
A hat-trick to Eleanor Coventry and a goal to Captain Lucy Scott sealed the win and kept Firebirds on-top by one point, still with a game in hand and just three matches to go.
Firebirds’ injury crisis has abated for now, with Katie McDermott and Kashia King returning to the side.
Firebirds settled into the game immediately and got their possession game and passing rhythm going.
It only took a quarter of an hour for Firebirds to open the scoring as Coventry collected Scott’s pass and, in typical fashion, coolly slotted past the keeper.
Coventry went close soon after but Redbacks worked themselves into the game and made life uncomfortable for the Firebirds throughout the half.
Redbacks were mostly resorting to long-range efforts against a well-organised Firebirds’ defence.
Just as Redbacks were building pressure, Firebirds struck again as Scott released Coventry to outpace the defence and double Firebirds’ lead just before half time.
Firebirds were in control at the break, and took less than two minutes of the second half to make it 3-0 when Coventry got on the end of Skye Dalton’s pass to score.
Redbacks rarely threatened thereafter as Firebirds held them at bay, and the game was put to bed when Scott scored a fourth goal with 20 minutes remaining.
This was an impressive performance from the Firebirds following a couple of very patchy performances, albeit with undermanned sides.
It was an even team performance in what had been expected to be a difficult match.
Firebirds will welcome back McClurg this week.
A win against third-placed Subiaco in Bunbury will all but seal the title, given Firebirds’ following game is against last-placed Gosnells who Firebirds beat 12-0 earlier this season.
After recent wins against Ashfield and Joondalup, and a draw to Western Knights, the South West Phoenix Men’s side suffered a 4-1 loss against Gwelup Croatia on the weekend.