Saints look to the sky in finals bid

TOOLEYBUC Manangatang will continue their finals bid, toughing out the first semi-final and coming out on top against Tyntynder yesterday.

The Dogs fought hard for the entire match, but it was the Saints who stamped their authority early on.

They held on for the game, emerging on top of the final 62-49 score.

The Dogs trailed the Saints for the entire game, despite on-target shooting in the goal circle from goal shooter Kate Morrison and goal attack Emma Smith.

Morrison’s accuracy was in top shape, with the ball finding the ring in a number of difficult long shots.

But it wasn’t enough at the end of the first, with Tooleybuc Manangatang pushing out to a six goal lead.

Saints goal attack Julie Wardle was in fine form throughout the game, clasping every opportunity thrown her way and using it to her advantage.

A team effort saw the Saints lengthen their lead by the end of the second, with the scoreboard carrying a 32-19 score in their favour.

From half time onwards, Tooleybuc Manangatang fought hard to keep their opponents opportunities in the goal circle at bay.

But a gallant effort from the Dogs saw them answer goal after goal, shooting 16 in the third to the Saints 15 — but it was too little too late.

The fourth saw a similar number of shots find their mark for both teams, but Tooleybuc Manangatang remained consistent to the end and will advance to the preliminary.

Player/co-coach Natalie Plant said they went back to basics this week, focusing on controlling the ball and keeping up their intensity throughout the game.

“We feel like we are starting to come together as a team,” she said.

“We are training hard, we are all fit so we are looking forward to taking on Swan Hill they beat us by quite a lot last time so we are looking to improve on that.

“We had a few lapses but otherwise we got off to a really good start, which sometimes we haven’t done so, but a good start, treasured the ball and defended really well — a good team effort.

“It is definitely a relief to get another week.”

Plant said going in to the game they knew it would be a tough match, but they had prepared well.

She expected the game next week to be a tough one.

“It will be fast, very physical,” she said.

“We will have to be spot on with our passes, because they are a really good intercepting side and their goalies shoot beautifully too, they are a very well drilled team and don’t make many mistakes.”

Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, their finals hopes are now over, while the Saints will rally this week in preparation for what is sure to be a difficult match against the in-form Swans in Saturday’s preliminary final.

In other matches yesterday, Tyntynder’s A reserve team will advance to the first semi-final against Swan Hill, beating Tooleybuc Manangatang 41-35.

In B grade, the Swans finals hopes have been dashed after they went down the Woorinen 32-17. The Tigers will play Lake Boga on Saturday.