City West Falcons timed their run for Victorian Netball League championship division finals to perfection.
With a win in their final match of the season enough to guarantee a finals spot, the Falcons had everything on the line against the DC North East Blaze on Wednesday night.
The Blaze faced the same scenario, making the match a virtual elimination final.
Although the Falcons led at every break they couldn’t break the game open, with the result decided in the final few minutes. The Falcons held their composure to win 60-57.
Falcons coach Marg Lind said it was a period in the third quarter that proved to be the difference.
“It was a quality game and finals worthy,” she said. “It was a five minute period in the third quarter, we were letting the ball go a bit quicker and we got a run on.
“They made a lot of changes and we had a bit more confidence to get out to a six goal buffer.
“They came back at us … The last three to four minutes we were able to steady.”
Lind said while they were a young side, several players had played together for a number of years and that counted late in the game.
The two Falcons shooters shot at 89 per cent accuracy.
Lind praised the efforts of goal attack Tahnysha Salanoa
“Tee is a young goaler and she was able to hold her own under a lot of pressure,” Lind said.
“She was able to keep her head up. They threw everything at her.”
While finals are normally a pass mark for the Falcons, this year is different according to Lind.
The Falcons only got their best line-up on court six weeks ago and have been able to rise up the ladder to finish third.
“It is definitely an over achievement,” Lind said. “We’re just happy to get there.
“We’re really happy to get a team in finals with the year that we’ve had.
“Anything else is a bonus.
“It will be tough. There’s four to five quality sides in the league.”
The Falcons play the Hawks in an elimination final on Wednesday night. The winner will play in a preliminary final on Sunday.
When the two sides played each other in round 16 the Falcons came out on top, but the Hawks were without star shooter Kim Commane.
The championship division side is the only Falcons side through to finals after the under-19 side suffered a heartbreaking 56-55 loss.
Lind said the side had opportunities to make finals. “They should be a top four side,” she said. “We left our run too late.”