KASEY Owen’s family and friends shouldn’t bother with expensive gifts for her 22nd birthday tomorrow.
“All I want for my birthday is a win,” Owen said.
The Warrnambool co-captain said a preliminary final victory against minor premier Camperdown today at Reid Oval would be a perfect birthday gift.
But she knows it won’t be handed to her, nor gift-wrapped.
In fact, the key defender is preparing for the biggest assignment in Hampden netball — a match-up with Camperdown goal shooter Narelle Welsh, the league’s leading scorer.
But the task doesn’t worry Owen, who has had the job twice already this season.
While she spent most of the year as goal defence, she switched to goal keeper late in the season, remaining alongside co-captain and good friend Emma O’Keeffe.
Today’s match has added significance for Owen, who chalks up her 100th A grade game with the Blues, having made her top level debut in 2007 while still playing in the 17 and unders.
After starting her career with Russells Creek, she moved to Warrnambool and attributes the move to a significant improvement in her game.
She didn’t have to wait long for success, playing in Warrnambool’s back-to-back premiership sides in 2008 and 2009.
The Blues made the finals in 2010 but missed out on the September action last year.
“As much as you try to appreciate it, when you are so young you tend to take it (success) for granted,” Owen said. “I’m lucky to have two A grade premierships already. But now it means a bit more, I’m a bit more grown up and I’m joint captain with Emma.
“Back then I was the youngest and looked up to other players. But now it’s a whole different feeling. I’m older and I am trying to lead.”
Owen said a shot at next Saturday’s grand final was driving her and the Blues, but they knew Camperdown would be a tough opponent today.
“We haven’t had a full-strength side against them all year so it’s hard to guage,” she said.
“We have confidence and we have faith in each other. The skills are there, we just have to produce it on the day.”
One of the keys to Warrnambool’s climb up the ladder this year to third at the end of the home-and-away season was an essential element in any team sport.
“We are young. We do have a bit of experience, but we go out there to have a bit of fun and have faith in each other,” Owen said.
She said the Blues had become more proactive late in the season.
“We’ve become a bit more aggressive. Even in defence we have been talking about being attacking, going after the ball more,” she said.