PORT Fairy coach Emma Cust is hoping her side will carry significant momentum from Saturday’s last-quarter win over Cobden into this week’s daunting showdown with powerhouse Koroit.
She knows the Seagulls will need the same intensity and confidence they exuded in their 16-9 final quarter blitz against the Bombers to be competitive against the unbeaten Saints.
Port Fairy’s 43-34 win against Cobden lifted it to sixth on the ladder at the half-way mark of the season but Cust said her side had some work to do mentally if it wanted to push higher.
“We still didn’t really play that well,” she said.
“It didn’t feel like we were going to win the game, the girls weren’t playing at their best but then in seven or 10 minutes in the last quarter we were 10 goals up.
“I think it’s a lot about confidence.”
She felt her side was hesitant at times.
“We seemed to be having a lot of trouble delivering the ball to our goalies and converting off the turnovers.
“In the last quarter they were a lot more driven ... they just left it to the last quarter. It’s confidence and self-belief. There was so much self-doubt. I think we need to look at addressing the mentality of the players coming into the second half of the season.”
Cust suggested her players preferred being the hunter rather than the hunted, playing its best netball in matches where it wasn’t expected to win.
She said the way her side finished off the match underlined its potential as it continued to blood inexperienced players like goalie Carly Watson, midcourter Alice Chapman and goal keeper Alisha Moloney. Veteran Nicole Dwyer, goal defence Sarah Moroney and goalie Annie Forrest were decisive.
Port Fairy led by a goal at quarter-time despite Cobden having a better start. While both teams’ midcourt pressure was good, the Bombers created more turnovers but with coach Tarryn Hill playing her first game at goal shooter alongside Natalie Tongs at goal attack this season, they took time to find their range.
The Seagulls made the most of their pressure in the second term to open a five-goal break before Cobden fought back late to trail by three at half-time and two at three-quarter-time. Port Fairy then iced the game with the 16-9 final term despite Tongs and Hill shooting at 100 per cent for the second half.
Hill is upbeat about her side’s second-half of the season after extending the higher-ranked Seagulls.
“We had a really good three quarters,” she said.
“We probably still had a good last quarter but Port Fairy just came out of the blocks in the last quarter and we probably made a few mistakes because of their pressure.”
Hill and the Bombers have made no secrets about wanting to develop their own juniors this season. With three 17 and under players in the starting seven on Saturday, Hill has reason to be bullish about the future.
Goal keeper Rebecca Rohan and younger sister Jess at goal defence were impressive as key defenders while centre Alicia Blain won praise for her efforts against Dwyer in the centre.
“Our juniors are stepping up,” Hill said. “Port Fairy played really well all game and our girls just kept their heads and we didn’t let the margin increase.”
The Bombers have injury concerns with wing defence Helene Myers unable to complete the match because of a calf complaint. She was brought into the game in the second term after Romona Taylor landed heavily on her elbow and hip, forcing her to the bench. Taylor replaced Myers for the final term.
Defender Allison Tewierik failed to take the court because of an ankle injury.