Shepparton Swans finished with a rush in the dying minutes to seal a thrilling victory over Shepparton in Goulburn Valley Netball League.HANNAH DRISCOLL April 14, 2014 3:20am
A flurry of goals in the final five minutes clinched Shepparton Swans a three-goal win against last year’s grand final opponent Shepparton.
The Deakin Reserve match set the scene for a replay of Goulburn Valley Netball League’s A-grade decider, but when they took to the court the Bears had only three players remaining from that day.
Morgan Gibson and Ash Cann (nee Allan), formed the defence duo, while Katie Thorn lined up with recruit Lucy Teague-Neeld in goals for the first half.
Former Seymour player and fill-in Toni Lind played a crucial role in wing attack alongside midcourters Kirrily Jones and Erin McLeod and under-17 players Steph Gorrie and Laura Ryan came on in the second half.
Shepparton immediately broke the Swans’ first centre pass to go 2-0 ahead and led 7-3 before the Swans shot the next three to pull back to within a goal.
Just before quarter-time Swans defender Erin Frances (nee Hopkins) called time out and came off and, with Bec Dudgeon away, was replaced in goal defence by Gemma O’Sullivan (nee Toy).
Frances came back on in goal keeper for the second half, replacing fill-in Gabi Johnston.
At quarter-time the Bears led by one, but by half-time the Swans had the same advantage.
There was slight confusion towards the end of the term as McLeod and Lind were instructed by the umpire to swap back after having switched positions after an injury time out.
As it was Cann who called time, she had to be involved in any change.
At three-quarter time scores were tied 21-21 and the final term turned into a shootout.
Annie and Liz Cobbledick’s shooting percentage was low for the day, but they finally got a break and held a centre pass to go ahead 29-27, and sealed the match when the Bears were called for a short pass in their goal circle.
Swans playing coach Jana Bruinier, Kate Toy in her 250th match and O’Sullivan were the Swans’ best, while Cann, Gibson and Teague-Neeld made a good start to the Bears’ season.
Bruinier said it was important for the Swans to win two out of the four matches against Shepparton, Shepparton United, Mansfield and Euroa, all finalists last year.
‘‘I knew having Dudge missing was going to be difficult to get the win today. I think it was a very, very scrappy match, but overall happy to come out with the four points,’’ Bruinier said.
Shepparton coach Tracey Brereton said it was a good base for Shepparton to go forward from with Jacinta Todd (state coaching commitments) and Taylah Shanahan (knee) still to come into the side.
‘‘We gave them more than a good run to be honest. That last five minutes the momentum was their way and they snuck over the line,’’ Brereton said.
‘‘We only lost to a team that smashed us in the grand final by three today .
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