Stawell netballers bow out of finals 

WNA - Stawell Warriors A grade netballers bowed out of the Wimmera Netball Association finals series following a seven goal loss to arch rivals Ararat last weekend.

It was a disappointing day for Stawell, who trailed the Rats by three goals at quarter time and never recovered.

Ararat built on their score in the second term to extend the lead to eight at the main break.

Stawell tried to maintain pressure on Ararat up and down the court to try and stem the flow of goals, but it was to no avail as the Rats ran out winners 32-25.

Coach Jemma Clarkson praised the opposition, saying Ararat just played better than Warriors on the day.

"They jumped early, kept the lead and built on it. Full credit to them," she said.

"Their defence was tight all day, they got their hands to the ball and did a great job."

Clarkson nominated defender Emma Henry as one of Warriors best players after her performance on Ararat goal attack and 2012 WNA A grade best and fairest Megan Shea.

"Emma Henry was on Shea and kept her as quiet as she could. Jessie Antonio had a run through the centre but we weren't able to capitalise on turnovers," Clarkson said.

With recently crowned WNA B grade best and fairest Kirsty Coote back in the side, Stawell was a big chance of upsetting Dimboola last week, however it wasn't to be as the Roos came away with a 35-24 win.

Dimboola proved a force to be reckoned with in the opening term, patiently moving the ball down the court to gain the upper hand over the opposition.

Stawell couldn't create movement through the midcourt, allowing the Roos to take a number of intercepts throughout the quarter.

While the defensive end of Erin Freeland and Kristy Matthews worked hard to peg back some of the goals, the Roos had full control of the match.

Accurate shooting from Horsham Saints proved the deciding factor in their C grade clash with the Warriors.

While Stawell players battled hard all day, the Saints were able to capitalise on almost every opportunity they were given.

Mid court players Abby Kaczynski and Sarah Scully were the shining lights for Stawell, working hard to get in front of their opposition and providing strong leads all the way down the court.

The Warriors were within striking distance early in the game, but the Saints pulled away at the end of the first half.

There was still some hope for Warriors at the start of the last quarter, however the Saints were quick to put a stop to any comeback and ran out comfortable 35-29 victors.

As they have done many times this season, the 17 and under team overcame a slow start to triumph in Sunday's preliminary final at Murtoa.

Stawell had been unsuccessful against the Rats in both of their previous matches, but had the belief they could win their way through to a grand final berth.

Things didn't look good for the Warriors in the opening term, as the Rats burst out of the blocks and quickly built up a handy lead.

Stawell improved in the third term, with wing defence Bethany Griffiths leading the charge.

Griffiths read the play well and took countless intercepts, but the Rats continued to dominate the play and held an eight goal lead at the final change.

With nothing to lose, Stawell was urged to keep fighting and that's exactly what they did.

Lisa Fleming played a spectacular quarter at goal keeper, nullifying the impact of the Rats' accurate goalies, while the attacking end on Kearnie Warren, Lucy Pollock and Carlia Byron steadied well under pressure.

With seconds to go, Stawell hit the front by two goals and while the Rats were able hit back late, they were beaten by the clock, handing Stawell a one goal victory.

Warriors A grade goal attack Jemma Clarkson waits to accept a pass from her wing attack Jade Cross in last Sunday's preliminary final clash against Ararat. Picture: LAUREN ISEPPI

Warriors A grade goal attack Jemma Clarkson waits to accept a pass from her wing attack Jade Cross in last Sunday's preliminary final clash against Ararat. Picture: LAUREN ISEPPI


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