NORTH Warrnambool Eagles yesterday stormed into week two of Hampden league A grade netball finals.
The Bushfield club outlasted South Warrnambool, 39-36 in a thrilling elimination final at Gardens Oval to keep its season alive.
It will take on Warrnambool in the first semi-final on Sunday.
The Eagles trailed the Roosters at every break, but came from as much as six goals down in the last stanza to prevail.
Their 12-4 last term started from defence, where the impressive Indi Morrison and Rachael Ryan stepped up their intensity.
Wing attack Rebecca Kelly, a late substitute, provided fresh legs and goalers Skye Billings and Annie Blackburn hit their shots.
Eagles coach Sharon Kenna said she knew the game would go down to the wire.
"It's how we've played against each other all year. One team gets in front and the other hangs in there," she said.
"That's pretty much how it worked out. They even got to six goals up at the start of the last quarter.
"There was an injury time out and I called them over and said 'you're still in this game, don't give up it's two turnovers'.
"They went out and did it." Kenna said Morrison and Ryan were "awesome" in the last term.
"We've never gone 'we're down and that's it'," she said. "They were determined and got some beautiful turnovers in the last quarter, especially in defence, and we made the most of it."
A North Warrnambool Eagles win seemed unlikely after South pulled clear in the middle two quarters.
Scores were tied 10-all at the first break before two 11-goal quarters handed the Roosters a five-goal lead at three-quarter-time.
But momentum swung again, as it has in every match between the sides this season, and the Eagles seized control at the death.
Billings finished with 23 goals, while Blackburn shot 11 after replacing Blair Shaw at quarter time, and centre Jaime Barr was also handy.
Eliza Dwyer scored a game-high 28 goals but typifying the contest defender Britt Hyland was the Roosters' best player.
South coach Gill Herrmann said her players were deflated after the heartbreaking defeat, but added they should take pride in their year.
"They should be extremely proud of their season because it was a good season," Herrmann said.
"You feel a bit flat but you put the season into perspective and they did more than what we thought they'd do.
"At one stage we thought we wouldn't make finals and probably didn't deserve to be there. "But we definitely believe we deserved to be in finals.
"We thought we had a couple of games left in us but they came out and were the better team when they needed to be."