The going was tough yesterday at Coburg City Oval.
When play started in the Victorian Women's Football League north-west division grand final, and the going was at its toughest, the Bendigo Thunder got going.
The Thunder met La Trobe University in their first ever grand final appearance on the ground, that was nothing short of an absolute quagmire.
In just their second season of competition, the Bendigo side put in a spirited performance and claimed their first premiership by 15 points, 5.6.36 - 3.3.21.
The ground was covered in mud due to rain in previous days and three Essendon District Football League finals being played on it the day before, but the Thunder adjusted better than La Trobe to the heavy, slippery conditions.
Kicking with a slight breeze in a stoppage-laden first term, La Trobe had control of the game early with the ball primarily in their attacking half.
Trobers' captain Madeleine Goodman and ruckman Caitie Mitchell were sensational in the opening stages, as was Lucy Lopes who banged through the first goal of the match for La Trobe.
However, the Thunder moved the ball forward late and Cherie O'Neil capitalised on the opportunity to put through the Thunder's first of the game with 30 seconds remaining, giving them the momentum into quarter time holding a one-point lead.
They used that momentum in the second quarter to rip the game away, kicking 4.3 to 1.0 to go into the long break with a 22-point lead, that was worth a lot more than the scoreboard suggested in the difficult conditions.
Angela Foley, winner of the medal for best afield, moved into the ruck for the Thunder in the second quarter to try and limit Mitchell's influence on the game and was sensational, acting as another midfielder when the ball hit the soggy Coburg deck.
La Trobe's midfield struggled to get the ball out of the plethora of stoppages that occurred, the Thunder's Jess Kile, Jess Kennedy and Hayley Trevean were fantastic as they gained the ascendency early in the second term and then held it throughout the match.
La Trobe were always going to find playing catch-up footy tough, and when they could only muster a behind in the third quarter the game looked out of reach.
It proved to be just that, the Thunder not able to register a score in the final term but holding form in defence to only allow one La Trobe goal.
Lucy Lopes added the goal, her second, early in the last term to give La Trobe a sniff, while the tireless work of Hannah Kennedy, Mitchell and Goodman continued, but they didn't have enough depth against a Thunder team who had very few passengers.
Elizabeth Waters was outstanding in the last quarter, with La Trobe bombing the ball inside attacking 50 in desperation, trying to force themselves back into the contest.
Waters, the Thunder full-back, held the north-west division's leading goalkicker in Samantha Greene goalless throughout the contest, and used her thumping right boot and sure hands to repel the Trobers' attacks multiple times in the last term.
Foley, Kennedy, Trevean and Kile were fantastic all game for the Thunder, as were Emma Grant and captain Emma Wolters, who kicked two goals and showed the way for her teammates all game.
After the game, Thunder coach Russell Jeffrey praised the quality of opposition his side faced.
"When we started two years ago we tried to model ourselves after [La Trobe], because of the quality of club they are," he said.
"It was just our turn today to have the win, and I'm extremely proud of my girls."
Bendigo 1.1, 5.4, 5.6, 5.6 (36)
La Trobe 1.0, 2.0, 2.1, 3.3 (21)
GOALS – Bendigo: Wolters 2, Blake 1, O'Neil 1. Hards 1
– La Trobe: Lopes 2, Flavel 1
BEST – Bendigo: Foley, Kennedy, Kile, Trevean, Grant, Wolters, Waters
BEST – La Trobe: Kennedy, Mitchell, Lopes, Goodman, McIver, Flavel