Unbeaten Koroit in pursuit of perfection

SAME time, same win/loss ratio but Koroit’s approach to the second half of the Hampden league A grade netball season is far from business as usual.

Koroit goal attack Teagan Lang (right) gathers the ball down low, ahead of North Warrnambool  goal keeper Rachael Ryan.

Koroit goal attack Teagan Lang (right) gathers the ball down low, ahead of North Warrnambool goal keeper Rachael Ryan.

The unbeaten Saints are a win clear on top of the ladder and boast an average winning margin of 31 goals after nine matches, yet co-coach Kate Dobson says her teammates are far from satisfied.

She doesn’t have to say it, you know the Saints are hell-bent on winning the flag this year after being defeated by North Warrnambool Eagles in the grand final as they pursued an unbeaten 2013. It just goes without saying — they want it.

At the mid-point of the season, Koroit is preparing to be challenged in the next three months.

Dobson said the Saints were heavily scrutinising their own performances, tactics and plays in pursuit of perfection and the ultimate prize at the end of the season.

“We are not too worried about what happens now,” she said.

The Saints want to be peaking in the finals. That’s why they have experimented with their line-up weekly, partly in search of plan Bs and Cs but partly forced because of player availability.

What no one is saying is that the Saints are significantly better placed compared with this time last season. Midcourter Jacqui Bowman, whose 2013 was cruelled by chronic fatigue, is healthy and fit; co-coach Kate Foster, who battled injuries early last season, is fit and the Saints have a more versatile playing list with the addition of defender Holly Greene, the recruit of the season Teagan Lang, who can play goal defence or goal attack, and midcourter Carly Pulling.

Dobson said the Saints were excited about the second half of the season. “It’s really hard to test yourself until you are being pushed,” she said.

With defending premier North Warrnambool Eagles and third-placed Hamilton Kangaroos expected to up the ante in the run to the finals, Koroit is looking forward to putting its tweaked game plan into action.

North Warrnambool Eagles are in unfamiliar territory — they are sitting second. Last year they were seventh with just three wins from their first nine matches, yet they managed to climb into the five, winning six of their last nine matches and then four consecutive finals games.

Coach Sharon Kenna is confident the Eagles are building despite being below their best.

Hamilton Kangaroos were widely tipped to improve and their 7-2 start has them well placed for an historic first finals appearance.

Fourth-placed South Warrnambool, another surprise packet, and Camperdown round out the top five. But expect some underperforming teams in Portland and Terang Mortlake to mount big challenges late.

Tigers coach Kerri Jennings said her side’s finals hopes could be decided sooner rather than later. They play Terang Mortlake on Saturday and then Port Fairy, two sides they are fighting with for a spot in the five.

“If we can’t beat Terang Mortlake or Port Fairy we don’t deserve to be any higher than where we are,” she said.

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