City West Falcons got a sneak peak of what finals action will be like in the Victorian Netball League championship division season.
With two rounds to go, the Falcons were already secure with a top-two spot, but on Wednesday night the battle was on for top spot.
The Falcons and Melbourne University Lightning were equal on points, the winner assured of finishing on top unless there’s a surprise final round slip-up.
The game didn’t disappoint with Falcons’ coach Marg Lind saying it was worthy of a main final.
The Falcons got out to an early break, but the second half saw the teams go goal-for-goal. Falcons held on to lead at every break and eventually won 48-47.
Lind said she couldn’t have asked for any more from the game. “It was a great contest and I really enjoyed it.
“It was always about finishing in the top two, and I don’t think it makes a difference finishing on top, but it’s nice ”
It was an almost perfect first quarter at the attacking end for the Falcons, who led by six goals at quarter-time.
“We made one error in the attacking end, and that happened in the first 30 seconds,” Lind said. “It was almost flawless. It was good to get a start like that – it gave the girls confidence.”
The Lightning made a few positional changes, which seemed to work, and then settled into the game. The margin was back to two goals at the main break.
“They made less errors once they settled,” Lind said. “A couple of things went their way and they looked at who matched up better.
“It was a good sign for us that our attacking end counteracted, they were able to handle the pressure.”
The margin blew out to five or six again in the second half, but once again the Lightning found a way back, falling just short of the line.
Kath Knott scored 35 goals while Julia Woolley scored 13.
The win came without goaler Jane Cook, whose workload is being managed. She’s likely to return for the first week of the finals.
The division 1 team also secured a top-two finish on Wednesday.
The under-19s had already sealed their finals spot, but now will have to settle for third or fourth.
The championship side will play the final round of the season against Peninsula Waves on Wednesday night, before playing Lightning on Saturday afternoon for a spot in the grand final.