Forerunner of things to come
By David Nagel
Tipping winners in West Gippy netball was rather easy on the weekend with the top teams overcoming some desperate opposition and Antarctic-like conditions to bank some valuable victories.
The closest match of the round came at the Korumburra Showgrounds where the Giants made it three wins on the trot with a 39-26 win over Phillip Island.
The Giants were forced to work a little harder than expected against the Bulldogs who were coming off a last-start win.
The Giants have had many stars this year, including Kelsey Buxton, Gemma Dixon and Ash Cuff, and it was that overall depth of talent that proved too strong for the brave Bulldogs in the end.
Phillip Island currently sits in seventh place on the ladder and proved on Saturday that their best netball is probably good enough to play finals.
The Bulldogs face a tough one this week against Dalyston before a really important clash against Kooweerup.
Inverloch-Kongwak has bounced back to the winner’s list and leap-frogged Kooweerup into eighth place on the ladder with a 43-24 triumph at Denham’s Road.
The Sea Eagles were well served by Renee Pilkington, Lanni Pryor and Hayley Pupetti through the midcourt, while goalers Ella Sadler and Sophia Hughes had a great battle with the Demons’ defence.
Meghann Patterson and Katrina Spark played a key role in the victory, defending well to keep the Demons’ to just five goals in the opening quarter.
The Demons had a great patch of form prior to the Covid-lockdown – winning three games on the trot – but have struggled to chalk up a win since returning to the courts.
The Demons are a team that never ever stop trying, and players like Taylah Simpson, Janell Johnson, Brooke Galante and Tash Bindley can be super-proud of their efforts.
Tooradin-Dalmore continues to go from strength to strength with the Seagulls doing as expected and having a comprehensive 69-30 victory over Garfield.
The Seagulls dominated their home court in the opening exchanges with Alex Maher scoring 11 goals and Kayla Bratic seven in the first quarter. Sara Duncan, Chloe Crouch, Stacey Sawyer and Ebony Dolan all spent time in the midcourt in the opening term, while Jess Maher and Ebony Mason flew the flag in defence.
There was more of the same in the second stanza, with Alex Maher scoring 12 and Bratic six to open up a 36-10 lead at half time.
The Seagulls got a little bit adventurous with their bib distribution in the third quarter with Duncan taking up an unfamiliar position as goal keeper.
The Stars really improved their play in the second half with Jaymee Donnelly, Nat Sloan, Steph Warburton, Georgie Douglas and Tyler Redwood taking things up to the reigning champs.
Hopefully for the Stars that first win is just around the corner.
Top-team Dalyston had to fight hard to gain the ascendency against Nar Nar Goon on Saturday, eventually walking away with a 53-34 victory at Nar Nar Goon.
The Magpies undefeated streak was never really in doubt, but there would have been some nervous moments at half time as the visitors led by just five.
The Magpies showed their class, ramping things up in the second half scoring 29 to 15, but the Gooners will walk away with some confidence heading into a huge clash this week against Warragul Industrials.
The winner will grab a firm grip on sixth place and become the favourite to play finals this year.
Goalers Laura McLaren and Anna Robertson kept a steady hand, in the second quarter in particular, while Olivia Hamilton, Bec Cox and Eden Evans only stopped giving their all once the final buzzer had sounded.
And Warragul Industrials has maintained its recent run of good form with a 41-23 victory over Cora Lynn.
The Dusties have now won four and drawn one of their last five matches and would appear to have the class to provide a bit of x-factor come finals time.
Cora Lynn was missing one of its key defenders on the weekend, with Bianca Douglas missing through illness, but will need to be at its fighting best over the next fortnight against Tooradin and Dalyston.
This week’s games (Tips in capital letters)
Inverloch-Kongwak v BUNYIP
Kooweerup v KORUMBURRA-BENA
Nar Nar Goon v WARRAGUL INDUSTRIALS
TOORADIN-DALMORE v Cora Lynn
DALYSTON v Phillip Island