Lockdown ends Bulls’ finals hopes

NFL women's Bundoora Bulls. (Supplied)

The Bundoora Bulls will come into the Northern Football League women’s 2022 season with a fighting spirit, having missed out on their chance to play finals this year.

Metro Melbourne’s extended lockdown has spelt the end of the season for the Bulls, as the NFL made the call that only the top two teams would get the chance to play for the division 1 trophy.

The Bulls had qualified for finals in the competition pre-lockdown, placing eighth on the ladder with 16 points..

Coach Amy Callaway said the team had not expected to make finals.

“At the start of the year we were hoping to be put into division 2,” Callaway said.

“Being put in division 1, we knew it was going to be a bit of a challenge.

“Early on, we had quite a few injuries, which possibly affected the way the scores ended up at the end of games.

“As the season got on, we improved, and finished up just making finals.

“It was massive for us to make a division 1 final.”

Callaway said the team was “pretty disappointed” to not be able to try its hand at finals.

“No one can pick what’s going to happen with COVID, but it’s disappointing that we don’t get a go, especially given some of the boys are being given the chance to play at least one final,” she said.

“Everything’s so different in finals compared to the regular NFL season, we were looking forward to facing the challenge.

“We’ll hopefully push next year, and hopefully go all the way.”

Callaway said she was proud of how the team had persevered through the numerous COVID-19 lockdowns.

“The girls are being fantastic,” Callaway said.

“Every lockdown, even from last year, they’ve stepped up.

“We’ve teamed up in groups, and set challenges each week, or sometimes daily.

“It’s obviously not the best [environment]… but [we’ve had] constant contact via messenger or Facetime… it’s good to keep up that contact.

“We’re a pretty competitive team, so any challenge we get given, we take it head on.”

Throughout the challenge of facing a tough division 1 competition, Callaway said there were two clear standouts for the side.

“Our captain, Antonietta Parisi… it was probably one of her best years at the club,” Callaway said.

“She leads by example, and week in, week out, if she gets knocked back she gets right back up.

“[Also] Talia Vincent, she had been one of the quieter girls.

“This year she really stepped up.

“She won us the game against West Preston [where the Bulls won 7-6(48) to 5-7(37)].

“I wish I had more of her to put over the whole field.

“They were the two stars of the year, definitely.”

Callaway said the Bulls are hoping to be put into division 2 next year, where their goal is to take out the premiership.

Michaela Meade