A GRAND final swansong awaits Koroit great Stacey O’Sullivan after she was forced to cool her heels for Saturday’s 44-40 second semi-final victory against Camperdown.
O’Sullivan started the match as a sub, but playing coach Jacqui Bowman revealed she wasn’t considered for court time as a precaution against a calf injury.
Bowman said O’Sullivan, who had announced she would retire at the end of the season, would be a valuable inclusion for the grand final.
Unbeaten Koroit is shooting for its fourth successive premiership on September 21 and will start a hot favourite despite several lapses on Saturday. Bowman, who completed her first full match of the season at wing attack after suffering chronic fatigue, acknowledged there was room for fine-tuning in Koroit’s build-up.
“I think we can play better,” she said.
“We just have to get rid of silly turnovers.”
Koroit started brightly with its teamwork through the midcourt, focusing its attacks through goal shooter Carley Thomas during the first quarter.
While Thomas was on target, Camperdown shooter Narelle Welsh and goal attack Jaymie Finch were hit-and-miss in the opening minutes.
It allowed the Saints to build an 11-7 lead at the first break.
They opened a 16-8 advantage early in the second period before Camperdown fought back through greater defensive pressure to trail 23-19 at half-time.
With goal keeper Emma Wright and goal defence Genevieve Darcy diminishing the output of Thomas and Rachel Dobson, Camperdown cut the margin to two goals before Koroit regained the momentum and opened a near double-figure lead in the final term.
The Magpies were able to reduce the final margin, which encouraged playing coach Tracey Baker.
“I was really happy with our girls that we kept fighting,” Baker said.
“They are very beatable.
“I felt our defensive pressure was a lot better than it has been.
‘‘And we reduced our turnovers by about half on recent weeks.
“We’ll get to training this week and continue with those positive thoughts.”
Baker highlighted the performance of young wing defence Amy Pemberton on Bowman, defenders Wright and Darcy.
Koroit’s experienced midcourt trio of Kate Foster, Kate Dobson and Bowman combined well, while its defenders Gabrielle Brown and Emily Batt were strong contributors.
Bowman plans a recovery session early this week for Koroit, with an extra training session next Saturday.