The Rangers win the 2017 Women’s Vic Bowl

The party is still raging at Croydon’s Springfield Reserve after the Croydon Rangers women’s team claimed the VicBowl, the state grand final of gridiron, with a 12-7 win over the Melbourne Uni Chargers on Saturday.

The Rangers entered the decider on the back of a perfect 7-0 regular season and a win over the Geelong Buccaneers in the semi-final.

The Rangers offence started with the ball but, for most of the first quarter, possession seesawed between the sides until Australian running back Tanya Russell charged 30 yards for the first touchdown of the day.

It was to be the only score for the half and the Rangers went to the break with a 6-0 lead.

In the third quarter, after a long drive by the Chargers, the Rangers found themselves backed into the red zone and unable to hold off Australian receiver Izzy Paholek, who was playing at quarterback, from running in the Chargers’ first score. The kick for an extra point was successful and the Chargers led 7-6.

Possession rebounded throughout the final quarter with both defences doing everything they could to stop the opposition’s offense.

Huge efforts from defenders Tina Lund, Alex Bushby and Beck Horner regained the ball for the Croydon offensive unit and set up Russell for one last score.

The closing five minutes belonged to the Rangers as they slowly crawled their way up the field before time expired on a thrilling victory and Croydon celebrated its first women’s championship.

Following the match, Gridiron Victoria announced a number of awards, adding to the Rangers’ collection of silverware.

Quarterback Bliss Love won the Vic Bowl MVP honours while Tanya Russell took home the overall league season MVP. Head coach Jamie Stafford won the coach of the year title for the second time in three seasons.

A number of Rangers were also named on the All-Victorian team: Right guard: Vanessa Brown, centre: Sarah-Jane Mills, left guard: Nat Jones, running back: Tanya Russell, defensive tackle: Beck Horner, corner back: Melissa Kendrick, free safety: Cat Bouwhuis and defensive utility: Clara Yip.

This story appeared in the Herald Sun

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