The Riddell District Netball League hung on to claim victory against the Southern Netball League in the AFL Victoria WorkSafe Community Championships.
In a match that could have gone either way, the RDNL came up with some strong late plays to seal the 41-40 win.
Neither side could gain control of the match, with scores level at both quarter and half-time. It was just a one goal margin at the final change.
In its best period of the game, the RDNL got the margin out to three goals in the last quarter and looked like it might run away with it.
But Southern came again and the RDNL had a couple of nervous moments. The scores were back to level.
The RDNL steadied at the attacking end and Lauren Close pulled down a couple of strong rebounds in defence to seal a win.
RDNL coach Chris Cameron was pleased with how the side had come together.
“We only had two sessions and played a tournament together,” he said.
“To get the full squad on court was amazing. It took us the first quarter to settle into what they [Southern] were doing. They were playing a really tight one-on-one defensive game and we had to adapt and try and make some changes.
“We are really adaptable and to basically change the team at half-time and know the girls are resilient and could get on and get the job done was amazing.”
Cameron said the plan pre-game was to bring players off the bench at half-time and give everyone an opportunity on court.
He said with the depth in the side they were confident everyone could do the job needed.
Lauren Close, Stefanie Symes, Kirby Elliott and Chloe Meulenmeesters all came onto the court and had an influence.
With the game on the line, Cameron made a couple of key changes in the final quarter which had a massive impact.
The first was moving Symes in wing defence at three-quarter time. The other was bringing Rebecca Hicks into the game in the dying moments.
“I identified at three-quarter time that their wing attack was the main ball carrier,”
Cameron said. “It was a good decision [to move Symes]. And bringing Bec on in the last couple of minutes, I think that saved the game.”
Hicks, who played three and half quarters in goal shooter, was named the RDNL’s best player by the umpires.
Cameron, who coaches Wallan, said having played a tournament together earlier in the year had helped the side. They will also play in the association championships later this year.
He said he was thrilled with how the program had come together this year.
“I feel we have a lot of players from different teams as well, which is good for the league, having a good balance.
“Seeing the depth coming through especially in the A-grade and under-19s it’s amazing.”