OLD Collegians captain Meagan Forth acknowledges she was hardly a refined netballer when she joined the club seven seasons ago.
“I used to be a bit fiery, at times undisciplined. In recent times I’ve learnt to play the ball, use my smarts,” she said.
“I’m not always going to be faster than my opponent and I’m always going to be shorter. That’s a disadvantage for me.
“I’ve had to learn to play a bit smarter, take a role where you might not get all the glory or intercepts but you might take a player out of the game.”
Her maturity as an A grade netballer is one of the reasons Forth will lead Old Collegians’ bid for back-to-back Warrnambool and District league flags.
The Warriors take on Panmure at Reid Oval tomorrow, a repeat of the dramatic 2013 decider which they won 38-37.
“Not that I think about it too much, but I am the second oldest in the team and I feel pretty young,” Forth said.
“I am one of the senior players so I don’t have any qualms telling the girls we need to do this, we need to do that.”
Forth, 25, played juniors at Hawkesdale-Macarthur before finding her way to Port Fairy, where she played seniors for two seasons.
A shift to Warrnambool prompted her to join Old Collegians where her brother Nathan had played football.
“I didn’t say I had a family connection, I wanted to get in on my own merit. They were really welcoming once they saw me,” she said.
Davidson Oval has felt like a second home since, her teammates becoming somewhat of a second family.
“Not having my family in Warrnambool, it’s hard for all of us to catch up but Collegians is a family in its own,” she said. Forth said the Warriors were confident entering the grand final. She said having a settled lineup had been a strength late in the season.
The development of young midcourters Rachel Alderson and Madeleine McLeod had also been important in their unbeaten run to the decider.
Forth played alongside Genevieve McLeod and Jess Toleman last season but has had to adjust with the two new faces at centre and wing attack.
“At the start of the season it was about feeling around to see how the dynamic was going to work,” she said.
“We didn’t have that safety net of playing with people you’re familiar with.
“To Maddy and Rachel’s credit, they’ve become A grade players in their own right.
“It did take that five or six weeks of training and playing together for it to become second nature, to know where they’re going to be.”