Step aside boys – the Hampden league netball season is shaping up to be just as tight as the football.
A lot has been spoken by the football coaches of the evenness of their side of the league, but the netball has had its fair share of close calls and thrilling contests.
Eleven of the 40 games completed on the netball court have been decided by under five goals. Seven of those games have been by just one goal.
A further six games have been decided by under 10 goals highlighting that the Hampden league netball is well and truly a 10-horse race.
Saturday was the perfect example of how close the competition has become.
Three of the games, Warrnambool-Koroit (67-65), North Warrnambool Eagles-South Warrnambool (47-46) and Portland-Terang Mortlake (57-56), were all decided by under five goals.
Every club this season has been involved in a match that has gone down to the wire.
The Blues and Eagles have been the two most successful teams in close encounters, with a 2-1 win-loss record.
Hamilton Kangaroos has been the unluckiest side, losing two games by a goal.
North Warrnambool Eagles mentor Dot Jenkins believes the key to surviving the tight contest is taking a gamble at both ends of the court.
“You have to take a risk and go for it, because the players just have to have a go at things and play the game,” Jenkins said.
“It could be a goaler being able to shoot under pressure or a defender committing to take a really good intercept, they are taking a risk.”
Being on the right side of a close result has never been more important, given the tight nature of the Hampden league ladder.
Just one game separates third-placed Port Fairy (20 points) and seventh-placed Warrnambool (16).
The rest of the cluster is made up of Camperdown in fourth (20), Koroit in fifth (20) and South Warrnambool in sixth (20).
The Blues may be coming off a win against the Saints, but their time to savour that triumph has been short-lived, instead needing to turn their attention to a vital clash with the Roosters on Saturday.
Star Warrnambool goal attack Amy Wormald said the Blues were aware of the magnitude of the task of keeping their season alive.
“We came into the season without many expectations,” Wormald said.
“As the season has gone on, our belief has built and we have learnt how to hang in there against the top teams. We were seven goals down against Koroit but we kept chipping away and attacking. That win has given us some confidence coming into this week’s game against South Warrnambool. They are a good team so we will put in a hard week of training so we are ready to go.”