A late charge to the Hampden league finals will provide Port Fairy's younger players with invaluable experience, says Ally Feely.
The Seagulls were stranded near the bottom of the HFNL table after round eight with a 2-6 record and a weak percentage.
But a mid-season resurgence saw them bank wins over Hamilton, South Warrnambool and Portland.
And now Port Fairy, on equal points with South Warrnambool, Terang Mortlake and Camperdown, is back in the September conversation.
"I think it would be great for all of us, but especially the younger girls, to make finals," Feely said.
The 26-year-old said teenagers Ash Evans and Ava Pierce had impressed her during the club's string of three wins in a row.
"They've been massive for us recently," she said.
But Port Fairy coach Rhiannon Cuomo said the 2016 premiership player herself was the Seagulls' most in-form player.
"Ally has really hit her straps over the last month," she said.
"I think she's been listening well and adjusting to my style of coaching. Her defensive pressure has really stepped up."
Cuomo said Feely, who grew up in Coleraine, had also developed a strong chemistry with her shooters in Evans and Chelsea McMahon.
"She's the connecting link to our goalies with good patience and timing," the Seagulls mentor said.
"Ally is definitely one to sit back and wait for the lead rather than rushing after every single ball."
Port Fairy takes on the Hampden league premiership favourite Cobden on Saturday. That fixture pits the HFNL's top side against number eight.
But while the Seagulls haven't tasted defeat for than a month, the Bombers will be raring to bounce back from a nine-goal loss, their first defeat for the season, to the North Warrnambool Eagles.
"We'll prepare as normal by concentrating on our strengths," Cuomo said.
"Cobden are a powerhouse and we've just got to take it quarter by quarter."
"The girls have definitely been upbeat, even throughout the slump period.
"But it's starting to come together now."
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