In-form Gulls overcome Magpies

THROUGH bitter cold, horizontal rain and howling wind, Sale was overcome by an in-form Warragul side during round 17 of Gippsland League netball.

The Gulls led at every change to win 54-22.

Warragul had plenty of practise playing in the horrendous conditions, having faced Maffra in sleet the previous weekend, and played with plenty of energy from the first whistle.

The Gulls’ Renee Cook led a solid defence, and in attack, goal attack Anna Green and goal shooter Jaime Rollinson were in match-winning form.

Sale’s awards went to Kristy Glover, who played in defence, centre Maggie Tatterson and goal shooter Hayley Castle.

Now two wins clear of sixth-placed Maffra, the Gulls have sealed their finals spot.

MAFFRA’s finals hopes have been dashed, after losing its penultimate game for the season to second-placed Traralgon.

Starting half an hour later than usual due to an on-court incident in C grade, A grade play was pushed well and truly into the storm front.

With similar abhorrent conditions sweeping through play, visibility proved difficult from one end of the court to the other, and shooting was near impossible through the wind.

Traralgon, looking to stamp its authority back on the ladder after a crippling three goal loss to Moe, took half a game to defrost.

Maffra led at quarter-time, and was still within reaching distance at half time, trailing by only two goals.

The Maroons then put their foot on the accelerator in the third quarter with a few changes, and left the Eagles flailing in the mud.

Traralgon’s Ramayer and Taylin Gourley were soaring six-foot plus beacons up each end — Ramayer put up an impenetrable defence, while Taylin was difficult to defend on the slippery court.

The Maroons’ Stacey O’Brien also pulled no punches in centre, driving through the midcourt with force.

For the Eagles, centre Emma Allman controlled play beautifully in her two quarters on the court, and left big shoes for skipper Paige Biddle to squelch into as the downpour hit its heaviest point.

Biddle stepped up, putting her body on the line, and with wing attack Taylah Ballinger, fed competently to the shooters despite plenty of Maroons’ pressure.

Missing a few key players, Maffra will face its final 2018 game this weekend against Moe, looking to start finals off the back of a hat-trick, after defeating Traralgon and Wonthaggi.

IN other round 17 matches, ladder leader Morwell was upset by Drouin 44-43 at home, Leongatha was pipped by four goals by Bairnsdale, 43-39, while Moe demolished Wonthaggi on its home run to finals, 64-35.