Roosters improvers in a race to the top

SOUTH Warrnambool and Hamilton Kangaroos won four A grade games between them in 2013.

Their fortunes have turned this season — they’ve both won four out of their first five matches before a top-five showdown on Saturday.

The Roosters cobbled four wins and a draw together in a development season last year, while the Kangaroos were winless in their Hampden league debut season.

South Warrnambool playing coach Leah Kermeen has her team on the move this season.

South Warrnambool playing coach Leah Kermeen has her team on the move this season.

South Warrnambool coach Leah Kermeen said both sides were big improvers.

The creative goal attack said her inexperienced Roosters had shown maturity in their past two games — narrow wins against fellow finals hopes Portland and Port Fairy.

Kermeen said the Kangaroos would provide another steep learning curve.

“We are taking it as an indication of where we’re at in terms of the top five,” she said. 

“A win would cement our spot up there and give us breathing space before the bye.

“We are really surprised to be 4-1. We are rapt. We’ve had close ones and to get wins early is good, especially for our girls being so young.

“I thought it would take time to adjust to the standard but they’ve come out all guns blazing.”

Kermeen, who rated her own form as inconsistent, said she anticipated a high-quality contest at Friendly Societies’ Park on Saturday.

“We are expecting very free-flowing, I hope, good netball,” she said. 

“The past two weeks we’ve had windy conditions and scrappy and physical games.

“They have a tall goalie like we have, so they will target Nell (Mitchell) and we’ll target Kelsey Lewis.

“She is one we have to stop.”

Kermeen said Nell Mitchell was developing into her role as the Roosters’ top-grade goal shooter.

The pair are teaming well in their attacking half.

“She’s adding versatility to her game ... she is moving more in the goal ring,” Kermeen said.

“Her accuracy has been fantastic. I feed her and she is the target and is nice and tall and strong.”

Kermeen said Mitchell was one of a number of teenagers establishing themselves in South Warrnambool’s line-up.

“Ruby Wilson is really taking on a leadership role in the midcourt and has been a driving force in the middle,” she said.

“Darcy Wilson, Bridget Smith and Gen O’Connor have all stepped up well in their first full years in A grade and I have been proud of them.”

South’s only loss to date was against a fired-up Koroit in round three.

Kermeen said the Roosters had learnt from the 41-goal thumping.

She said the undefeated Saints — the 2013 runner-up — were “on a mission” this season. 

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