Fighting Pies fall short

DESPITE a hardened fighting spirit, Sale lost to Drouin 58-47 during round 14 of Gippsland League netball on Saturday.

Determined not to let Sale manage a repeat of its round five upset win, the Hawks came out firing to get an early headstart on their home court.

With Drouin leading by 14 at half-time, the Magpies managed to claw back some ground in the second half, each player exuding a positive headspace coach Mel Johnstone was proud of.

Drouin goal attack Staci Gardiner was named best-on-court in the high-scoring match, with defenders Ebony Mumford and Nicki Bryce also putting on a stellar performance.

Sale’s awards went to wing attack Tori Dessent, on the homestretch of a consistently outstanding season, as well as young guns goal attack Jenny Wrigglesworth and defender Alex Stephenson. The Magpies’ Kristy Glover also saw plenty of the ball in midcourt.

This weekend, victory is well within reach for Sale, which will have home ground advantage over Wonthaggi, currently sitting in ninth position.

A PHYSICAL match up against ladder leader Morwell will have Maffra licking its wounds this week, after the visitors were cleaned up by 20 goals.

For the first time in a long time, the Eagles had a full team with players returning from injury and Victorian Netball League commitments, but it wasn’t enough to take the Tigers, who won 55-35.

What began as a quick and relatively even contest, with Maffra only trailing by five goals at half-time, quickly blew out, as the Eagles failed to profit from their turnovers and suffered from choppy competition in the midcourt.

Maffra centre Emma Allman was instrumental in the Eagles’ efforts, providing hope late in the game by pulling in crucial turnovers and finding space where there was none.

Goal attack Coco Henry moved well, despite productive defence from Morwell’s Courtney Garth, to see plenty of the ball, and held her own space well under the ring.

Maffra will have to dig deep for a stirring win over Bairnsdale this weekend in order to stay in finals form.

The Eagles, currently in fifth position on percentage, got lucky this weekend, as a 62-41 loss against Traralgon held sixth-placed Warragul back from overtaking Maffra on the ladder.

Next week, Warragul face eighth-placed Leongatha, and Maffra may not be so fortunate.

IN other matches, Moe trounced Leongatha 64-41, and Wonthaggi was overrun 54-41 by the most underrated team in the competition, Bairnsdale.