WDFNL wing attack Eliza Moloney gathers the ball ahead of Colac wing defence Megan Leishman in last night’s Western Regional State League match.WARRNAMBOOL and District Football Netball League (WDFNL) will enter next week’s 17 and under Western Regional State League finals series bursting with momentum after restraining close rival Colac and District last night.
Nanjing Night Net

It was a game of cat and mouse at Warrnambool Stadium, as Colac made the majority of the first moves.

But the persistent WDFNL plucked up some courage late in the match to snatch the victory 35-33 and secure outright third spot on the ladder.

It will face fourth-ranked Warrnambool City in the knockout semi-final next Thursday.

WDFNL coach Chris Van Kempen has already planned a tough hit-out before the big game.

“We will be having a hard training session, needless to say, on Tuesday night,” she said.

“We will be working on our defensive pressure and trying to get the ball straight down the court instead of criss-crossy passes.

“Hopefully we can come out on top of City.”

Colac had 14 attempts at the net in the first term but only sunk eight, allowing WDFNL to keep in touch with seven at the first break.

Goaler Marli Alderson switched from shooter to goal attack for the second quarter, setting up an entertaining battle with agile Colac defender Rhiannon Whitson.

WDFNL keeper Jaymie Finch directed play from her defensive third, ensuring every time Colac inched ahead, her side would reel the difference back in.

Alderson missed a penalty goal after the half-time buzzer, leaving scores tied up at 16 apiece.

“It was a very tight game,” Van Kempen said.

“Our girls were a bit on the lazy side. Our defensive pressure wasn’t like what we’ve been working on in the past, so we will certainly be practising that at training.

“They struggled a little bit with their drives.”

Finch moved to goal defence for the second half and Alderson returned to shooter.

Molly Bourke took control in the centre for WDFNL, battling influential Colac midcourter Caitlyn McVilly.

The third term was dictated by centre passes early before Colac jumped ahead via spectacular long-range shooting displays from shooter Morgan Drayton and goal attack Georgie Rooke.

But Colac lost focus late, allowing WDFNL to impose authority and sneak ahead 27-25 at three-quarter-time.

“It can turn around fairly quickly at this level,” Van Kempen said.

“Even being 10 goals up is not enough.

“We struggled at our attacking end.

“Our defenders got the turnovers and then our attackers didn’t capitalise on them.”

Colac had every opportunity in the fourth term, as Whitson, keeper Beth O’Brien and McVilly continued to intercept and bring the ball down the court.

But the hard work failed to convert in the goal ring and Warrnambool eventually made them count.

The margin stretched to five goals with seven minutes to play, before Colac mounted an optimistic comeback with two minutes on the clock.

But a Ruby Farley-Steere centre-pass intercept sealed the two-goal win for WDFNL.

In the other early 17 and under match last night, Hampden White defeated Warrnambool City 55-41.

Open outfit Hampden White toppled Warrnambool and District White 58-43.

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