SPECTATORS at Woorinen Recreation Reserve were treated to an absolute nail-biter, when top two A grade netball teams Swan Hill and Woorinen went head-to-head in the second semi-final on Saturday.
In what could be a prelude to the grand final in two weeks, the Swans fought tooth and nail to maintain the lead, before a late goal from the Tigers evened the score and forced the game into overtime.
Playing five minutes each end, the anticipation was palpable in every pass until the whistle blew and the Tigers were rewarded for their hard work winning by just one goal, 54 to 53.
It was an intense game, marked by some fancy footwork in the goals at both ends.
The first quarter remained tight the whole way through, as Swans goal keeper Mollie Quin fought to keep tall Tigers shooter Tayla Stanley out of the circle.
The Tigers were limited to just seven scoring shots at the end of the first, while the Swans managed 12 goals at the other end.
Back on the court in the second, and the Tigers had a fight on their hands.
Consistent effort from goal attack Amy Cadd — both in the circle and out of it — saw 12 goals added to Woorinen’s total by half time, but for every scoring shot at the Tigers end the Swans answered, doubling their points in the same time.
The last two quarters saw the gap on the scoreboard narrow and the home crowd on the edge of their seats as Woorinen surged in a fight to match the Swans efforts.
Gutsy play from goal defence Jaya Blandthorn minimised Swan Hill’s impact on the scoreboard, limiting them to 10 goals in the third.
Meanwhile, the Tigers fought back in the goal circle bringing their total to 31 by the end of the third.
The fourth was a quarter to remember for the Tigers, with the score even at the final whistle, forcing the game into overtime.
Coach Naomi Lewis said the players had dug deep and used every opportunity to their advantage.
Knowing it would be a tight game from the outset, Lewis said despite a slow start the girls played to their strengths.
“It was a fantastic game — as it should be for the top two teams,” she said.
“We had a pretty slow start which we weren’t happy about... but I thought we stayed composed, our ball skills were fantastic and we hit our targets.”
She said team awareness had helped to push the Tigers over the line, with all players knowing each others strengths and weaknesses and playing to them.
A fall to wing attack Katherine Colley resulted in an arm injury, but is not as serious as first thought.
Lewis said with rest it is hoped Colley will be available for the grand final.
Woorinen will enjoy a week off, heading straight to the grand final, while the Swans will line up against Tooleybuc Manangatang, the winner of yesterday’s first semi-final.
In other games, Woorinen will also advance to the grand final in A reserve after it toppled Swan Hill 33 to 25.
Meanwhile in B grade, Tyntynder will go through to the decider beating Lake Boga 22 to 14.