Melton Centrals have caused an upset for a second straight week and are now one win away from a Riddell District Netball League grand final.
Centrals knocked off Rupertswood in wet conditions in double overtime a week ago, and early on Sunday it looked like they would have similar conditions against Macedon.
The rain cleared and the court dried, but both sides had to handle a tricky wind at Romsey Park.
It was the Centrals who handled the conditions the best and controlled three of the four quarters, going on to win 33-29.
Centrals’ coach Randy Pereira said his side was starting to put its whole game together at the right time.
“That’s sensational,” he said.
“Last time we played them they scored 22-4 goals in one quarter and that was the difference in the game.
“I said to the girls, there’s a lot of pressure on them today as they finished on top of the ladder and lost one game for the year.
“I said just play our best netball and we’re a chance. The five new girls we got in this season are starting to hit their straps playing as a team.
“Anything is possible.”
Centrals were boosted pre-game with the news that star Cats’ goaler Chloe Wilson would miss a second game with illness. It meant that usual wing attack and Cats’ coach Ciara Stewart had to move into goals.
Pereira said shutting down Stewart was the key to closing down the Cats.
“The main thing is to stop Ciara as she’s the driving force behind them. The thing about having a coach on court, she can direct and encourage on there.”
With the Cats other shooter Tara Burnip struggling with the wind, it meant the Cats had to play a line up in the second half they hadn’t used all year.
In the end it didn’t work, with Centrals’ experience at goal showing through and it proved to be a key difference. The Centrals goalers shot at 77 per cent and had seven less shots than the Cats, who shot at 58 per cent.
It was only a small period of time in the third quarter that Centrals struggled with their shooting and it was then that the Cats got back into the game. When they scored the first goal of the last quarter, scores were level and Pereira was nervous.
“We had gone backwards,” he said.
“I didn’t think they’d picked up. We turned the ball over, turned the ball over and turned the ball over. If we had continued that for the next centre pass it could have been diabolical, but we steadied and got the job done.”
Defenders Catherine Hocking and Rachel Dovaston were named Centrals best, while Pereira said Jade Fisher had stepped up the past two weeks.
Centrals now face Lancefield on Saturday for a spot in the grand final against Romsey.
Centrals C-grade team faces Diggers Rest in a preliminary final.