Hampden league netball is back and it didn't disappoint, providing three nail-biting finishes

HEART-STOPPERS: South Warrnambool's Liz Byrne receives the ball inside the circle during the Roosters' tight one-goal victory. Picture: Rob Gunstone
HEART-STOPPERS: South Warrnambool's Liz Byrne receives the ball inside the circle during the Roosters' tight one-goal victory. Picture: Rob Gunstone

THE first round of the Hampden league A grade netball on Saturday had no shortage of heart-stopping finishes.

South Warrnambool, Campderdown and reigning premier Koroit all collected the four points in close one-goal triumphs. 

The Roosters trailed at every break against Hamilton Kangaroos.

But with a game-saving interception from debutant Isabella Rea, they scored in the final minute and escaped with a 44-43 win.

South Warrnambool coach Mandy Van Rooy praised her match-winning first-gamer.

“We moved her into wing defence and I thought she was a calming influence when she came on,” she told The Standard post match. 

“She kept a cool head, was tight in defence and did everything that we asked of her.”

The second-year Roosters mentor said she encouraged her side to concentrate for the full final quarter as short lapses had cost them.

“We would play two or three-minute patches where we were playing great netball and it was working and then something would happen and we would drop our heads and let the rest of the quarter go,” she said.

“I told them at the break we can either lift our heads and keep playing well and win or we let them run over us and they stood up and decided to play better netball and it was good in the end.”

Camperdown led for majority of the game against Terang Mortlake, with the Bloods putting constant pressure on the Magpies to take the game right down to the wire, before falling just short.

Magpies coach Sharon Kenna said the young Terang Mortlake side pushed Campderdown right to the final whistle in the 31-30 result.

“Terang stood up and fought all day,” she said. “They are a very good young side and they constantly put pressure on us and we couldn’t capitalise and we turned the ball over because of that constant pressure.”

Continuing the trend of the underdogs pushing the favourites was North Warrnambool, which fell agonisingly short of defeating reigning premier Koroit. 

In a side missing star shooter Nell Mitchell, the Saints unearthed a gem in Millie Mahony who stood out in testing conditions, to score nine goals in the 29-28 victory.

Koroit co-coach Carly Pulling said her side had played well in patches but at the final break she just urged it to keep pressuring the Eagles and that game would sort itself out.

“I told them to just keep going and keep trying to get those intercepts,” she said. “I said once we started getting those intercepts our shooting, which had been a bit shaky all day, would sort itself out.

“We will take a lot of confidence out of today knowing that our younger girls can step up when it counts.”