HAS added versatility been Camperdown’s missing ingredient?
Coach Tracey Baker thinks so and Saturday’s two-goal qualifying final win over Port Fairy will underline her belief.
Camperdown, chasing its first Hampden league A grade premiership despite finishing on top in the past three seasons, looked the winner at half-time, seemed in all sorts of trouble at three-quarter-time but somehow found a spark to claim a 42-40 win against the Seagulls.
While the Seagulls made just one move for the match, Baker made five.
She said switching Gen Darcy from goal defence into centre for the final quarter was critical.
That allowed Leah Sinnott to go from centre to goal defence.
“It’s really good to be able to switch different players to work the match-ups,” Baker said.
She said Darcy gave the Magpies impetus after they seemed to lose their way in the third term.
They scored the last six goals of the second quarter to lead by seven at half-time but that was reduced to just one at the final change.
“We didn’t protect the ball enough. We were trying to rush it into the goal area and there was not enough defensive pressure,” Baker said.
“We took our foot off the pedal.”
The Magpies kept Port at bay in the final term, never surrendering the lead.
Baker said the Magpies were pleased to get the win and set up a showdown with arch-rival Koroit, which is undefeated in its quest for a fourth-consecutive premiership.
“Everyone is really positive,” Baker said
‘‘We are looking forward to meeting Koroit. We haven’t met them with our full side yet.”
Saturday’s match confirmed little separates Koroit’s challengers.
The last time Camperdown and Port Fairy met in round 13, the Magpies won by a goal.
The latest contest was marred by nerves and turnovers early, with the first goal taking several minutes.
That went to Port Fairy but it was the first and only time it led.
Camperdown settled quicker than the Seagulls and its ball movement was slick towards the end of the quarter.
Port Fairy’s defenders, led by Sarah and Rebekah Moroney, produced several intercepts as the Magpies threw long passes to goal shooter Narelle Welsh, before Camperdown found a way through the Seagulls’ midcourt.
Port Fairy coach Emma O’Keeffe said the result highlighted her side’s frustrating inability to put four good quarters together.
“The second quarter hurt us,” she said.
“We are not playing four quarters. We need more consistency in our game.”
She said the Seagulls had let a golden opportunity slip.
“We had a lot more of the ball (after half-time) and we wasted it.
“I don’t know if it was nerves but we couldn’t keep control of the ball.
‘‘We need to make the most of our opportunities when they are there.”
O’Keeffe said her side produced enough turnovers.
“We got plenty of the ball but we didn’t use it. We mucked around with it instead of getting it in there. We just need to be a bit smarter.”
She said Camperdown had put her side under a lot of pressure.
The injection of Chelsea Swarbrick into wing attack in the third term had been a plus, O’Keeffe said.
“I didn’t come out overly disappointed but I wasn’t happy either. We definitely know we can beat them. We probably should have. It did feel like it got away from us.”
She said Rebekah Moroney’s form was a highlight for the Seagulls. O’Keeffe said her side would regroup for next Sunday’s knockout first semi-final.