PORT Fairy might be out of finals contention, but that won’t stop it shaping which teams finish in the five.
The seventh-placed Seagulls claimed their fourth win of the season on Saturday when they upset sixth-placed Camperdown by four goals.
The 54-50 result gave the Seagulls a much-needed boost — it was their first win in six matches. But it ruffled the feathers of perennial finalist Camperdown, which remains a win outside fifth with three matches to come, two against sides in the top three.
Port Fairy looked in control on its home court at Gardens Oval on Saturday. It led by four at quarter-time, six at half-time and by as many as nine in the third term before Camperdown closed to within two in a desperate last quarter.
In round six the sides played out a 42-all draw after the Seagulls surged to the lead late in the match before a goal after the buzzer from Camperdown forced the deadlock.
Seagulls coach Emma Cust sensed her side was sliding on Saturday when an injury time was called by key defender Sarah Moroney with a handful of minutes remaining.
“I’m usually pretty calm, but we were going the same way we were last time,” Cust said.
“They had stopped running. I told them ‘it’s a team sport, lead for your teammates and you need to be more physical and look after the ball’.
“I said ‘you don’t want to walk off with any regrets. The time to win is now’.”
Her players responded, led by the team’s most experienced players, Sarah Moroney and Annie Forrest, who are both under 21. With veteran Nicole Dwyer sidelined for the rest of the season with injury, Cust said her side needed leadership.
“They really stepped up,” she said.
“The girls played well. It’s the first win they have had without Nicole and they needed to do it for themselves.
“It was great to get there.”
The Seagulls, who have struggled for players this season, unearthed another talented teen on the weekend when Cust promoted 14-year-old Rachel Giblin for her A grade debut.
She played the match at wing attack after a full game in the 15 and unders and turned heads.
Cust said Giblin would remain in the A grade side for the rest of the season, such was her impact.
“She did everything you could have asked,” she said.
“She just stepped up the whole game.”
Camperdown coach Tracey Baker was also impressed with Giblin.
She said the match was dominated by less experienced players.
“It was a battle of the young ones,” she said.
The Magpies had their own teenagers with Grace Lucas at wing defence opposed to Giblin in a tight battle. Baker said she was disappointed with the result but was positive about her young side’s future.
“We had our chances,” she said.
“We got intercepts and then the people intercepting them would throw away the pass and let themselves down.
“We had our chances and it’s disappointing it puts us in a really hard spot to make finals now.
“We have to beat (third-placed) Hamilton Kangaroos. We will come with nothing