Harriet Whithers notched a hattrick as Palm Beach SC Women comfortably accounted for SWQ Thunder Women 7-1 at Mallawa Complex on Sunday.
The hosts broke clear with five second half goals to restore their four-point lead in first.
Sharks made an ideal start when Kiri Dale’s low left-footed drive found a way through to open the scoring inside three minutes.
Thunder hit back with some shots of their own throughout the opening half hour and their attacking efforts were rewarded when Abbey Lloyd equalised in the 32nd minute, finishing well from the edge of the area after the hosts failed to clear.
Parity only lasted two minutes though as Deeanna Thompson shot into the top-right corner to restore the hosts’ lead.
Gary French’s side looked to extend their lead immediately after the restart and, after Harriet Withers’ saw a volley cleared off the line, Thompson went one better with a low finish to make it 3-1.
Sharks had begun to smell a blood and it was suddenly 4-1 within five minutes of the restart when Withers shot home through a crowded area.
Withers then made it a brace by beating two defenders and slotting home for 5-1 before securing her hattrick with around 10 minutes to play, curling an effort into the top corner.
Sharks capped their five-goal second half when Meaghan McElligott latched onto Caitlin Moss’ pass to finish coolly for the final 7-1 scoreline.
Speaking after the match, Sharks coach Gary French said his side felt no pressure as they firmed for the premiership.
“We’ve never actually talked about winning the league. It’s just (about) working hard every time, the expectations are to keep doing that throughout the season and hopefully we can get something out of it,” French said.
Thunder coach Craig Burgess pointed to Sharks’ potency and losing the midfield battle as reasons for the second half fadeout.
“We want to be competitive full stop, 45 minutes doesn’t make a match,” Burgess said.
Palm Beach SC Women 7 (Kiri DALE 3’ Deeanna THOMPSON 34’, 47’ Harriet WITHERS 49’, 55’, 79’ Meaghan McELLIGOTT 86’)
South West Queensland Thunder Women 1 (Abbey LLOYD 32’)