Hampden league open netball sides fighting for 2017 finals berths

RACE TO THE FINISH: Cobden netballer Sophie Blain hopes the Bombers can sneak into the Hampden league finals.

RACE TO THE FINISH: Cobden netballer Sophie Blain hopes the Bombers can sneak into the Hampden league finals.

KOROIT might be sitting pretty in top spot but the battle between teams fighting to join the Saints in September is heating up.

The Kasey Owen-led Saints are assured a week off come Hampden league open netball finals, having already secured the minor premiership three weeks out.

The rest of the top five remains a jigsaw puzzle.

Camperdown, North Warrnambool Eagles, Warrnambool, Cobden, Port Fairy and Hamilton Kangaroos are jostling for ladder positions.

Hampden league board member Pam Davis said “anything could happen” in the last three rounds. 

“Koroit is the standout at the moment, we all know that,” she said

“Teams are a little bit up and down which makes it a little bit more interesting.

“It’s a bit like the AFL, apart from Koroit, you can’t pick a winner – there’s upsets aplenty.”

Davis said the evenness made for an intriguing run home.

“Hamilton Kangaroos, Cobden and Port Fairy are vying for fifth spot,” she said.

“North has hit a (lean) patch with injury but I think they will hang in there with Camperdown and Warrnambool.

“North has lost Skye (Billings) and Jordyn (Billings) was out with injury last week as well.

“They are very young and a lot falls on Annie Blackburn but I think they (the Eagles) will get their act together.

“I think Camperdown has covered the loss of Tracey (Baker) better than many thought. It took a couple of weeks, but they’ve done well.”

Davis, who has seen all 10 sides play this season, said those out of finals contention could also shape September action.

Camperdown coach Peter Finch said the Magpies’ recent ladder jump highlighted the logjam.

The Pies rose from fourth to second after beating Port Fairy and benefitting from other results falling their way on Saturday.

The second-year mentor said every game was hard fought too.

“It makes it pretty stressful sitting on the side all the time,” Finch said.

“You can’t do anything about it. (Coaching director) Sharon (Kenna) was sating on the weekend ‘it’s another stressful game we’re going through’.

“We’ve only had a couple of wins this season above 10 goals we could sit back and enjoy.”

Kenna agreed with Finch.

“We haven’t won pretty, we’ve won ugly at times,” she said.

“The biggest thing that’s been so pleasing about the team is they just don’t give up.”