AN Emma Roache-inspired Panmure reaffirmed its spot in the Warrnambool and District league top five after grinding out an ugly win against Russells Creek.
The Bulldogs were wayward in attack but resolute in defence in winning 32-15 at Panmure Recreation Reserve, their fifth from six matches to start the season.
The triumph meant they claimed the Forever Young Shield for a third time since its creation in late 2011.
The shield, contested annually between the two A grade sides, honours the lives of six people who died in a road accident in November 2011.
Panmure coach Megan Titmus said she understood the significance of the win, despite the match being a low-key affair.
“There is so much emotion behind the incident, it affected so many people. It’s a great honour to have won the shield today,” she said.
Titmus was pleased the Bulldogs could return to the winners’ list in tough conditions, having suffered their first defeat of the season seven days earlier.
She highlighted the role of best-on-court Emma Roache. The goal keeper, a WDFNL team of the year member in 2013, was a dominant presence in the back third.
“Emma had a touch on every ball that came into the circle today. Whether it fell her way or not, she still got some hands on to it,” Titmus said.
Goals were hard to come by throughout a match which pitted two sides with genuine claims to a finals spot against each other.
Panmure edged to a 5-3 lead at quarter-time and had turned that into a 12-5 advantage by the long break. They shot clear in the third term to lead 20-7 at the last break before the match opened up late. The last term yielded 19 of the 47 goals scored.
Midcourter Georgia Standaar and goal attack Josie Ellerton earned spots in the best alongside Roache. Eleanor Wright led their scoring with 16.
The Kangaroos credited the efforts of Nicole Sullivan, who played at either end, and midcourters Stacey Dunkley and Thalia Robertson.
“We’ve spoken about a few things to work on at training,” Titmus said.
“That’s always a focus, to bring something into next week.”
Panmure (5-1) held on to third spot while Russells Creek slipped to seventh.