LAHARUM has set up an enticing Horsham District league A Grade grand final encounter with Natimuk United after defeating Edenhope-Apsley on Saturday.
In the preliminary final at Quantong, Laharum started off poorly in the first half as the Saints made the most of Laharum’s errors.
Laharum struggled in attack in a low-scoring first half that ended at 13-13.
Edenhope-Apsley showed plenty of promise in the first half, led by Alex Lang and Ash Ryan, as an unlikely upset looked to be a possibility.
The Demons started to click in the third term, getting back to its trademark powerful game.
Edenhope-Apsley could only manage three goals in the third term.
Laharum wing defence Erin Mellington was sent off for two minutes in the third term, but when she returned Laharum took the game away from the Saints’ reach.
The Demons’ last term was their best, scoring 12 goals and conceding six as the side won a tough contest 34-22.
Laharum co-coaches Rebecca McIntyre and Caitlin Story said the first half was one of their worst for the season.
Story said: “It was mistake after mistake after mistake in the first half. We really couldn’t convert in the attacking end. The second half was completely different. We found our groove and credit to the girls.”
McIntyre said Mellington handled herself well after being sent off and returning to the court.
“I actually thought the umpire was sending me off but I don’t think it was much,” she said.
“I couldn’t be prouder of how she played when she came back on. She had two choices – she could have dropped her head but she didn’t. I think it was a turning point for us. She came on and had two intercepts and we got in front.”
Story said next week’s grand final against Natimuk United promised to be a thrilling game.
“It’s the best two teams from the season, so hopefully we will put on another show. The atmosphere will be great,” she said.
Edenhope-Apsley coach Monica van Dyk said her side fell off the pace in the second half.
“It was good to stay with them in the first half and it gave us a lot of hope,” she said.
“They were just the better team. I think it was a combination of us dropping off and them picking up the intensity.
“When they had a run on we didn’t do enough to stop them.”
Saints shooter Krystal Schapel had a solid game, scoring 21 goals despite giving up significant height when lining up against McIntyre as her direct opponent.
“Krystal did well and they are quite a physical team and we were just able to keep our heads for most of the game,” she said.
“At the end of the season it was touch and go on whether we would even play finals, so to get through to the preliminary final is a great result for us.”