28 Aug NETBALL FINALS – WEEK 1
A gallant Corio has bowed out of the 2023 GDFNL finals series, after going down to Thomson in the elimination final on the weekend, while East Geelong and Werribee Centrals turned on another gruelling defensive slog before the Eagles won through to play Winchelsea in next weeks second semi final.
Thomson took control of the game early, skipping out to a seven goal quarter time lead, and desperately hung on throughout the seesawing encounter. Cheyenne Philpott was the difference in the game, dropping in 35 goals and stretching the Corio defence. Her battle with Devils defender Sophie Trezise was a highlight in the game. Molly Gribble was the standout mid court performer for the Devils, winning plenty of ball and driving into the circle, but the Tigers defence stood up well, with Morgan Byrne and Nicole Petran making sure the Corio shooters did not have it all their own way. The Tigers have had a slow build up, finding a top five spot in the shadows of the home and away season, but now have a meeting with their arch finals rivals Werribee Centrals next Sunday. The will start as underdogs, but winning form and confidence have overcome adversity many times in sporting annals. They will not depart without a fight.
The Centrals once again gave East Geelong an early break and were forced to play catch up netball in a repeat of the 2022 grand final and the same one goal result ensued. The Eagles had a three goal half time lead, but the Werribee kept coming, drawing level on a number of occasions, but never getting their noses in front. East were forced to shuffle their line up after star defender Claudia Cook could not continue in the game after a sickening second quarter fall. With regular goal attack Molly Neeson already out of the team, the Eagles coach Justine Radford massaged her group skilfully through the situation. Centrals veteran Melissa Prismall and Natasha Dimkovski controlled the mid court for the majority of the contest, but crucial errors under the enormous pressure, coupled with the brilliance of Steph Boyce and her new defensive teammate Sarah Perrott, saw the Eagles hang on for the narrowest of victories. Alicia Kelton also impressed the spectators, finding the net a game high 17 times to give East that scoring edge. They have set up a mouthwatering second semi final clash with Winchelsea next Saturday and all the netball fans are excited.