CAMPERDOWN is hoping the return of one of its premier talents can shore up its bid to break into the Hampden league top five.
Ruby Pekin-Schlicht made a successful comeback from an ankle complaint in the Magpies' 16-goal win against Portland on Saturday.
The 20-year-old's cameo off the bench helped the Magpies push away and keep its finals dream alive.
"It was good to have Ruby back, not that she was at 100 per cent," Camperdown coach Brooke Richardson said.
"It gave us the chance to have a rotation in there.
"She just reads the play so well."
What else went well? There's positives across the board for Richardson.
"I thought the defensive pressure was good, Krystal (Baker) is a really good shooter herself but she was able to feed Amanda (Clark) really well," she said.
"Amanda had really good holds on what was going to happen.
"I know they're different parts throughout the game that worked really well for us."
While Portland (42) trailed Camperdown (58) comfortably at the final buzzer, Lauren Hockley's Tigers were plucky and persistent.
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The margin stood at just two goals in favour of the Magpies at the main break and the Tigers pushed hard to close the deficit in the third term.
Richardson said Camperdown had the capacity to clean up its game and keep improving.
"Especially in that first quarter - I suppose they're still forced errors - but we were making errors that we wouldn't normally make," she said.
"It's kind of just about sharpening up our drives and connections just to minimise our own errors."
While the Magpies have found hot form - they're undefeated since the COVID-19 enforced bye - Richardson knows cracking into the finals picture will demand excellence in the second half of the season.
We've had the two draws so hopefully the second half of the season can go well and we can capitalise.Brooke Richardson
"It's going to be tough to get in there this year," she said.
"We're going to have to win some tough games. We've had the two draws so hopefully the second half of the season can go well and we can capitalise.
"We'll really have to make the most of the opportunities we've got."
Camperdown will play Port Fairy this coming Saturday, before tackling Terang Mortlake after the league-wide July bye in a bid to keep pressing its case for a top-five spot.
Warrnambool is just two points ahead of the Magpies in fifth place, while seventh-placed Hamilton Kangaroos is eight points behind Camperdown.
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