South Warrnambool co-captain Carly Watson says accountability is keeping her side focused on the task ahead.
The Roosters sit a game and a half ahead of the Hampden league's open field, with three matches left before starting a finals bid for their first top-grade flag since 1990. Watson, 23, said her teammates were solely focused on their next game in the face of the hype.
"People are talking about it, so there is a positive energy around the club and people are excited," she said. "At the same time you remain focused and just keep chipping away at one game at a time and not looking too far ahead."
Watson has leaned into that responsibility, with a first-year role as captain alongside Annie Blackburn - the pair taking over from outgoing Ally O'Connor - prompting a change of mindset.
"It has made me more accountable. Being able to stand on the court with that positive attitude and off the court, at training stepping up if (coach) Will (Jamison's) not there for the warm up," the goal defender said. "It's a change of voice, and you put your hand up and say 'yep'.
Watson, who this week finished her final teaching placement, is expecting a tough contest against North Warrnambool Eagles on Saturday. The Roosters clinched victory by two goals back in round seven but Watson believes the rematch will be tougher, with the Eagles amidst an eight-game winning streak.
"We match up pretty well against (North) I think, we're one of the quicker sides as well," she said. "North have the speed across the court, with Maddie (Vardy) in the centre and Skye and Jordie (Billings) at each end."
Watson said a challenging win against Hamilton last round was ample preparation, with short, disciplined, defensive netball distinguishing the Roosters.
In her second year at South Warrnambool, the former Port Fairy player said consistency in the line-up had helped her side advance.
"With Ally (O'Connor) going out, it was a big loss but Hollie (Phillips) coming in was also a big advantage," she said. "Keeping the depth of players we had last year and being able to build on that with the new structures and plays that Will brings has really benefited us. We're a happy, united team."
Watson said she and goal keeper Ally Mellblom remained focused on playing as a unit rather than individual components.
"Will is a defender himself, so that's been a big focus for us especially over the last couple weeks," she said. "We've really started to combine Ally (Mellblom) and I as a united combination and really work on getting the voice up in the ring."
Watson said harnessing a full-court defensive mindset was key to her side's premiership pursuit.
"Holly and Annie and Meg (Kelson) in attack, we're lucky we do have some height, so to use that defensive pressure across the court is something that we can continue to work on; it can be quite a force if we get it right," she said.
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