City West Falcons may have dropped last week’s game against Boroondara, but they can still seal their place in the Victorian Netball League Championship finals this Wednesday.
Coming into the penultimate game last week, the Falcons knew they could sew up third place on the ladder a week early with a win, but with a number of key players laid low by a virus they faded as the game wore on and they went down 64-48.
With Maggie Lind out of the game with the flu, and Victoria Honner and Molly Jovic also struggling with a virus but taking the court, the Falcons were below their best but still managed to hold a one-goal lead at quarter-time.
Falcons coach Marg Lind said there was no doubt the team was affected by the virus, but there were some positives.
“Maggie couldn’t even take the court, and the other two certainly ran out of legs as the game wore on,” Lind said.
“They probably shouldn’t have played, but we didn’t really have much choice so they did what they could.
“It did give us a chance to give Emily Post and Tahnysha Salanoa a run, and they haven’t had as much court time as some of the others coming up from div one this year.”
Boroondara started to control the contest after quarter-time, capitalising on a number of Falcons’ errors to open up a six-goal lead at half-time, and stretching away after the long break.
Boroondara needed to win to keep its finals chances alive, and with Melbourne Vixens’ Emma Ryde and Collingwood’s Sam Gooden in the Express line-up it was always going to be a tough ask for the depleted Falcons.
Lind said she would have liked the game to be closer, but was looking at the big picture.
“I would have liked to see a bit more fight, and really the margin should have been under 10 goals,” Lind said.
“While I would have liked to wrap finals up there, we know we have another chance in the final round to make finals and we’ll focus on that now.
“It was good to give some exposure to the younger players, so while the result wasn’t there we got the chance to give opportunities to younger players.”
The Falcons will finish the regular season against the winless Ariels on Wednesday and a win will book them a finals spot against either Boroondara or Geelong.