PORTLAND jumped back into the five with a 14-goal win over Warrnambool but the challenge is staying there.
Tigers coach Kerri Jennings hopes Saturday’s 43-29 victory gives her side more confidence leading into the second-half of the season.
But she is aware her team needs to improve in the midcourt, where it again produced a number of inexcusable turnovers.
“Our goals are OK, our defensive end is really strong, it’s just our midcourt,” she said.
Jennings said that while her midcourters were able to create plenty of turnovers, the frustration was they threw the ball away too many times.
Portland led by 14 goals at half-time, prompting Jennings to use the second half to experiment.
She took league best and fairest winner Lauren Hockley out of goals, knowing they will be without her for Saturday week’s match against ladder-leader Koroit. She used teenager Tayla Falconer at goal attack and defender Laura Tagell as shooter with positive results. Teenager Laura Kelly went to wing defence and produced four intercepts.
While Hockley has spent more time as goal shooter than goal attack this season, Jennings said it was good to have versatility.
“We are gelling more as a team,” she said. “We have very good team unity.”
Portland faces Cobden next Saturday in a must-win match for both sides.
The Bombers are coming off a 62-30 loss to unbeaten ladder-leader Koroit.
Koroit, without co-coach Kate Foster, gave impressive recruit Teagan Lang an opportunity to show her versatility with a best-on-court performance at wing defence. Lang, who joined the Saints this season from Edenhope-Apsley, has been swinging between goal attack and goal defence but on Saturday, with the return of Holly Greene to goal defence, she played in the midcourt.
Co-coach Kate Dobson was pleased with her side’s performance, focusing on team structures.
She used part of the game to switch her line-up around.
“It’s a real balancing act between playing players in their preferred positions and getting match fitness,” she said.
South Warrnambool consolidated fourth position on the ladder with a 16-goal win against Terang Mortlake.