HAMILTON Kangaroos will take considerable momentum into their showdown for second spot with defending premier North Warrnambool Eagles after a dominant performance on Saturday.
The Kangaroos claimed their fifth consecutive victory of the season with a 66-39 triumph against Camperdown at Melville Oval.
Despite leading by 17 goals at three-quarter-time, coach Sara Byrne refused to look ahead to next Saturday’s date with the Eagles.
“I like to get one game out of the way first,” she said.
But Byrne said the way her side approached the final quarter was significant leading into the Eagles match. The Kangaroos outscored Camperdown 16-6.
“The way they finished the game was really good,” she said. “It would be the best last quarter they have had this season.”
She said the Kangaroos had been guilty of letting sides back into games in the final quarter when they seemingly had matches won.
“I hope we can take that momentum into next week. It’s something I have been quite conscious of. We haven’t been finishing games off. They can’t relax.”
Byrne said the inability to kill off opponents had been perplexing, especially because her players had the required fitness. Each Monday all three of the Kangaroos’ senior sides have fitness sessions that target leg and core strength.
Byrne said the Kangaroos were keen to test themselves against last season’s premier, especially after a 22-goal loss to the unbeaten ladder-leader Koroit in round two — their only defeat in the first seven rounds.
“This will see how big a gap there is between second and third,” Byrne said.
“We’ll just wait and see what happens. It’s a completely different game, a different way they (North) play the game compared to everyone else. They have to get their heads around that.”
Byrne said the Kangaroos had been slow to start against the Magpies but by quarter-time had worked into the game, opening a nine-goal buffer.
“Our second quarter was not up to what I would like it to be. We threw away a lot of balls and made some silly mistakes.”
In a move Byrne described as a gamble, she gave teenage debutante Sarah Cleaver her first taste of A grade action at goal attack in the third term as she looked to extend the lead from 11 goals at half-time. She also injected Rebecca Van Kalken into wing attack.
“It could have blown up in my face,” Byrne said.
But the Kangaroos found more space in the goal circle as shooter Kelsey Lewis feasted on the opportunities given to her under the ring.
“She shot at over 90 per cent,” Byrne said.
“It was just brilliant.”
Camperdown coach Tracey Baker said the Magpies were disappointed with the size of the margin.
“I felt the scoreboard didn’t reflect the game,” she said.
“They got off to a good start and capitalised on their turnovers. We turned over the ball a lot in the second and third quarters but we didn’t score like they did. We probably didn’t make the most of our opportunities.
“It was only in the last quarter that it really blew out.
“Our young ones tried really hard. They did the right things but we just didn’t capitalise.”
Baker questioned the fitness of her young side.
“We are dropping off in last quarters,” she said.
The Magpies remain sixth on the ladder but are now a game behind fifth-placed Portland heading into Saturday’s match against fourth-placed South Warrnambool.