Cobden moves into top five with win over reigning Hampden premier Port Fairy

MOVING UP: Cobden captain and wing attack Lisa Gardner looks for a way around Port Fairy wing defence Laura Lafferty. Picture: Christine Ansorge.
MOVING UP: Cobden captain and wing attack Lisa Gardner looks for a way around Port Fairy wing defence Laura Lafferty. Picture: Christine Ansorge.

IT was a win to get into the top five. A win to take control of their own fate.

Cobden’s open grade netballers surged back into fifth position on the Hampden open grade ldader with a 51-40 win over reigning premier Port Fairy – the team which had occupied the elimination final spot before Saturday.

The Bombers made their intentions clear in the first half, pushing their lead out to 10 goals by the main break at Cobden Recreation Reserve.

Dynamic goaler Alicia Blain proved the perfect match-up to for star Seagulls goal defence Carly Watson – who had her fair share of intercepts and tips – with an enthralling, fleet battle unfolding between the two.

Blain dropped in 18 goals for the match, complementing steady shooter Molly Hutt, who finished with 33.

Cobden can cement its spot in fifth with a win over Terang Mortlake next week, but if it loses, will need Port Fairy to lose to Portland, which is coming off a win over South Warrnambool.

“I think Port Fairy and ourselves both knew what was on the line,” Bombers coach Nadine McNamara said.

“We knew this was probably one of the really influential matches to what will shape the top five.

“In saying that, we’ve still got one game to go. The good thing is now that our fate is in our own hands so we just need to go out next week and make sure that we win.”

McNamara and Remeny McCann worked well in defence to try to quell the impact of dangerous Port Fairy goalers Carley Thomas (22 goals) and Emily Forrest (18).

The Bombers kept their pressure up in the second half, refusing to concede ground to the Seagulls.

“For us, we’ve been trying to get consistency over the past couple of weeks,” McNamara said.

“We’ve started to fade out in our third quarters, so I thought our third quarter today was really strong as well.”

The home side started the third term full of purpose, quickly getting the first four goals on the board to silence any lingering doubts.

They led by 15 at the final change, absorbing the Seagulls’ last-ditch challenge in the final term to walk away 11-goal winners.

Port Fairy’s season is hanging by a thread, but coach Megan Titmus said her message to her charges would be to stay upbeat.

“Keep their head up and solider on: there’s still one game left,” she said.

The Seagulls will need to defeat Portland and rely on Cobden losing next week to reclaim fifth spot.

If they find themselves down against the Tigers, the Seagulls will have to find a more emphatic response than Saturday’s.

“It’s the big question in coaching and playing, isn’t it? How do you change mentality?” Titmus said. “You can ask it from them, but it’s a matter of happening.”