Chilly conditions result in reduced goal output but Koroit still keeps Kangaroos grounded

KOROIT co-coach Kate Foster has played a lot of netball in a variety of weather but can’t recall struggling through colder conditions than those she combated on Saturday.

Koroit goal defence Cloe Pulling leaps high to try to block Hamilton Kangaroos goal attack Sarah Cleaver from taking a shot. 140628VH07 Picture: VICKY HUGHSON

Koroit goal defence Cloe Pulling leaps high to try to block Hamilton Kangaroos goal attack Sarah Cleaver from taking a shot. 140628VH07 Picture: VICKY HUGHSON

Rain and wind dictated play in the Saints’ red-hot top-three battle with Hamilton Kangaroos at Victoria Park.

Koroit finished with its lowest goal tally of the year but 28 goals in the conditions was enough to secure a five-goal win.

“It was probably the coldest day I have played in since I can remember,” Foster said.

“I have played in wet conditions but the chill-factor was high.

“It was wet the entire game and obviously the surface was even when the rain let up a little bit.

“It was tough conditions all day.

“I suppose it changed the game plan too because you can’t play a long game and had to go short.”

Hamilton Kangaroos coach Sara Byrne said ball handling became increasingly difficult as the chill-factor set in.

“The players couldn’t feel their hands, they were all freezing cold,” she said.

Koroit’s goal tally was well short of its season average.

The Saints have averaged 60 goals a game with their previous lowest total this season being 46 goals in their draw with Port Fairy last week.

Foster said the weather meant it was “a day for the defenders”. 

Koroit had a one-goal lead at quarter-time and was two goals up at the main break. The Saints doubled their advantage to four goals at three-quarter-time — a huge buffer given the conditions.

Foster said the Saints never felt they had the win in their keeping until the final whistle, such was the level of Kangaroos’ persistence.

“It was a real pressurised game,” she said.

“Kate (Dobson) and I were very proud of the girls.

“Cloe Pulling also played A1 and stepped up to goal defence for a half in A grade and she came off at half-time and Teagan Lang, who played goal attack in the first half, went into defence and played beautifully.”

Byrne, who coached Hampden’s A grade side at the Netball Victoria association championships in Melbourne yesterday, praised her defenders for their resilience. 

She said they kept the Kangaroos in the contest.

“We played beautifully and it was a very defensive game,” she said.

“Rhianne (Lewis) and Amanda (Huf) played beautifully and Renae Beks at wing defence.

“Unfortunately we didn’t capitalise on their turnovers they caused and we made silly basic errors.

“(But) for us it was a 17-goal turnaround (from round two) so there were lots of positives.”

Foster said the Saints were confident midcourter Carly Pulling (ankle) and defender Holly Greene (work) would return to the line-up after the bye.

She said the past couple of weeks had been a juggling act and that she was happy with the efforts of the entire team.

Koroit enters the bye atop the ladder, two-and-a-half games clear of third-placed Hamilton Kangaroos. 

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