Port Fairy books 2016 Hampden league netball grand final spot

The Hampden league will crown a first-time top-grade netball premier on Saturday after Port Fairy joined Camperdown in the grand final.

HIGH FIVE: Emily Forrest and Carley Thomas celebrate a preliminary final goal. Picture: Amy Paton

HIGH FIVE: Emily Forrest and Carley Thomas celebrate a preliminary final goal. Picture: Amy Paton

An inspired third-term preliminary final fightback against Koroit lifted the Seagulls into their first decider since 2000.

The Saints built a seven-goal buffer in the second term and took a five-goal lead into the main break.

But the Seagulls rallied to be a goal clear at the final change.

From there they pushed clear, winning 42-35.

Port Fairy goal attack Emily Forrest said the Seagulls were thrilled to make the grand final.

“It is pretty exciting. A lot of us girls are really looking forward to the challenge,” she said. 

“It means a lot to a lot of our girls, especially ones who have been here for ages.

“We really fought hard for the four quarters that game and I am just so proud for the girls and can’t wait for next week.”

Forrest said team work was the catalyst for the Seagulls’ response after half-time.

“I think it was just talk; I think that’s what we tried to focus on,” she said. 

“We’re a pretty quiet team but we just were encouraging each other, being positive and just looking after our ball and we did that very well, so it was pretty exciting.”

Port Fairy goal attack Emily Forrest is thrilled to be in a grand final

Forrest, 21, said she had used her high-calibre teammates, such as recruit Carley Thomas, to soak up knowledge this season.

“It (my form has) been a little up and down but it’s been good just having to work with more experienced shooters and players and I’ve just learned a lot from this season,” she said. 

Port Fairy coach Megan Titmus was rapt with the Seagulls’ positive attitude and ability to respond to the Saints’ challenge.

“It could have gone either way – they could have put their heads down and lost it totally or fight back and they fought back,” she said.

“They just have a never give up attitude which has been building over the season and I think they come from behind very well.

“We’ve been dealing with versatility all year so it’s great anyone of our nine players can come on and be a part of that.”

The first-year Port Fairy mentor said the Seagulls’ efforts were for the club’s loyal followers.

“I am just new to the club but there’s been a lot of people there for many years fighting hard and I guess it’s something they have been looking forward to for a long time, so it means a lot to them,” she said.

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