City West Falcons went down 67-65 to Geelong Cougars in a classic in the first week of the Victorian Netball League championship division finals.
The Falcons’ double overtime loss will force them to take the long route to the grand final. They will meet Casey Demons in a preliminary final this Wednesday night.
Falcons coach Marg Lind described the heart-stopping game as “very insane”.
“I’d like to have another crack at Geelong because that was a good game,” Lind said.
“That’s what sport is all about, it was so up and down, our down was a massive down.
“A credit to the girls for coming back, but there will be a few kicking themselves.”
City West fans felt a contrast of emotions across the four quarters and extra time periods.
The Falcons were shocked early, trailing by a massive 10 goals and it took until late in the fourth quarter to finally break down the deficit.
The last four minutes of the fourth quarter was as good a patch of netball as the Falcons have played all season, but it was only enough to force overtime and not secure the win.
“Our last four minutes might’ve been our best for the season,” Lind said.
“That’s a big comeback 10 goals at that level.
“There were a lot of errors that we wouldn’t normally make. It showed enormous character to fight back.”
City West took the lead in overtime, but could not hang on to it.
Lind was disappointed with some of the 50-50 calls that did not go her team’s way.
“I thought we were a bit stiff not to get a few held balls,” Lind said. “We had some great defensive efforts in the double overtime, but we just didn’t get rewarded.
“That’s just luck, you have to accept that.
“We have to be accountable because we put ourselves in that position.”
City West was all the rage going into the finals.
The Falcons blitzed the regular season, going 17-1 across the 18 rounds.
Lind was not fooled by the competition her side faced in the finals.
“Maybe the girls felt the pressure of being the favourites in that game,” she said.
“Everyone was saying Falcons are the favourites, but I never thought that.
“I thought anyone in the four was a possibility.
“We’ve just got to really concentrate this week and do our homework on the opposition and come in with a bit more discipline and concentration.”
City West Falcons centre Molly Jovic is in some doubt for the preliminary final clash with Casey.
She appeared to roll an ankle early in the loss to Geelong and the Falcons are sweating on her health.
It was not the only issue for the Falcons with youngster Anger Agek pulling out of the match with illness and Soli Ropati still jet-lagged from her flight back from Europe.