DENNINGTON believes it is well positioned to unseat minor premier Old Collegians in the Warrnambool and District league A grade second semi-final.
The Dogs cruised into the grand final qualifier this weekend by defeating Panmure 42-30 in the qualifying final at Allansford Recreation Reserve on Saturday.
The win came courtesy of four consistent quarters. They shot terms of 11, 10, 10 and 11 goals to gradually increase their lead throughout the match.
Goal attack Katie Burt led the way with 29 nets, presenting strongly under the ring, while wing defence Kelsey Perry earned best-on-court honours.
“The funny thing was we were very confident yesterday,” Dogs coach Sue Fleming said.
“We just knew we could do it, we’d done it before against Panmure. We knew if we all turned up and had no passengers we could do it again.
“We didn’t feel intimidated by Panmure at all, as good a side as they are. The more of the unknown for us is Collegians.
“We didn’t have our full side last time and they gave us a lesson. We have to put a lot of thought into how we will match up against them.”
Fleming was a buoyant coach when reflecting on the victory. She said the final score “told the tale”, with Dennington able to handle what Panmure threw at it.
The Dogs led 11-8 at the first break and edged ahead 21-16 at half-time. They won the third term by two to take a 31-24 advantage into the last break.
The Bulldogs surged at the start of the final term. But the comeback was short-lived as the margin blew out in the dying minutes.
Fleming said Dennington had much respect for Panmure and was not surprised the Bulldogs kept fighting until the final whistle. She had high praise for Perry, the youngest player on the Dogs’ list, for her intercepting at wing defence.
“She’s very athletic and just an amazing reader of the play. She’s able to do these uncanny intercepts. It’s netball brain, you can’t teach that,” she said.
“What impressed me the most with Kelsey was she’s the youngest of the group, yet she had the most mature head in terms of not letting the pressure get to her.”
Panmure coach Megan Titmus said the defeat, while disappointing, had left her encouraged leading into a first semi-final this weekend.
Titmus acknowledged Dennington was “the better team on the day, we have to give them that”. But she did not believed the Bulldogs were deficient in any third. The 12-goal margin was due to “a lot of errors” on their part.
Charlotte McCutcheon led the Bulldogs’ scoring with 22 goals and was among their best along with midcourter Josie Ellerton and goal keeper Maddi White.
“I was really happy with my girls’ attitude, how they approached the game. They fought hard all day, there were no lapses,” Titmus said.
“It was a combination of errors and a few things that didn’t go our way, that can easily blow out the margin. We’re not far off the pace.”