Harrow-Balmoral reclaims top spot on the ladder

REIGNING Horsham District Football Netball League premier Harrow-Balmoral reclaimed top spot on the ladder with an epic comeback against Laharum on Saturday.

There was plenty at stake for both teams, which were the only undefeated sides entering the game.

Laharum sat atop the ladder with a superior percentage, but it was clear not much separated the sides.

The Roos appeared down for the count after falling behind by 11 goals at three-quarter-time.

Harrow-Balmoral coach Ebonie Salter’s positional moves at the final change proved to be just what the team needed.

Janelle Knight replaced junior fill-in Bec Francis at centre, and Emily Langley took control at wing attack.

Salter said the midcourt pair was pivotal in turning the game around.

“One of our normal senior players Sarah Langley was away, so Emily and Bec Francis stepped up and did a really great job for us,” she said.

“Emily took control of wing attack in that last quarter and gave us a bit of drive through the midcourt that we’d been lacking all game.”

So frantic were the final minutes of the game that both teams believed the result was a draw at the final whistle.

But when the goals were tallied, Harrow-Balmoral came out one goal ahead, 50-49.

“Emily took control of wing attack in that last quarter and gave us a bit of drive through the midcourt that we’d been lacking all game.” - Ebonie Salter

Salter said she did not believe the result gave her charges a mental edge over Laharum, but it would do wonders for their confidence.

“In the last quarter every single one of us did the job and played better than we had been,” she said.

“I think it shows a lot of our character.

“We know if we get that far down against them next time, they won’t let us back in, but we know we can play some really good netball against them now.”

Rupanyup broke its 2014 duck with a hard-fought six-goal win against Swifts.

The Panthers won each of the first three quarters to establish a 10-goal margin at the final change, only for Swifts to make a last-ditch comeback in the final quarter.

But the team managed to hold off the Baggies – who have not won since 2011 – to win 48-42.

Rupanyup coach Julia Nicholson scored 25 goals, but praised the play of Jodie Hayes in centre and defensive pair Lana Hayes and Kayla Woods.

“It was nice to finally have a win because it’s been a bit of a rough start to the season for us,” she said.

“We let them in a little bit in the last quarter and didn’t play the game out like we needed to, but overall it was a good performance.

“It has given us a bit of confidence in ourselves and it was the first game we had our full team in as well, so hopefully we can build from here.”

Natimuk United dropped out of the top five after a 37-32 loss to Noradjuha-Quantong.

It was a tight match until the Bombers pulled away in the final minutes, with defender Yolanda Francis earning best-on-court honours.

Edenhope-Apsley dominated Taylors Lake 79-28 to claim third place on the ladder.

Rachael Whitehead’s 61 goals gave her the highest individual tally for the round. Emma Forster was among the Saints’ best, while Kiewa Lovett was named the Lakers’ best player.

Kalkee won each quarter on its way to a 53-25 win against Pimpinio.

Melissa Beddison and Stevie Bibby were the Kees’ best.

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