Centrals hang on

Chloe Eyre. (Ljubica Vrankovic) 409291_02

Tara Murray

Melton Centrals further locked up its spot in the Riddell District Netball League top five, but it wasn’t without a late fright.

Centrals faced sixth-placed Romsey on Saturday with both teams keen to get the win and sit in the top five.

Despite having a couple of players miss the first quarter, Centrals blew the game open and led by 12 goals late in the game.

Centrals let the foot off the pedal and the Redbacks came home strongly but Centrals was able to do enough to win 62-58.

Centrals’ coach Randy Pereira said he was happy with the match, but disappointed with how they finished the match.

“It was nice but disappointing at the same time,” he said. “We have a young team and you are going to get inconsistencies.

“We led by 12 goals with six minutes to go and we should have stretched it out, as our percentage is not great.

“That inexperience you get the inconsistencies, We’re still trying to get them to go 100 miles an hour for the whole game.”

Centrals’ start to the A-grade match didn’t start well with Nadia and Helen Aumua both leaving their dresses at home and missing the first quarter.

Helen still finished with 33 games for the game despite the late start.

Centrals still led by three goals at quarter time and that was the margin at the break. It was then Centrals started to play the margin out.

Pereira said they had a really strong defensive effort while he felt the way they used their substitutions worked well.

“Avana [Hobson] was outstanding in defence,” he said. “Hayley [Hill] and our captain Romina [Barbuto] were good.

“Maddi [Stewart] came up from B-grade and did the job we asked her to.”

The win puts Centrals six points clear of Romsey in the race for finals.

Having set the aim of playing finals at the start of the season, the club remains on track.

Pereira said he wasn’t keen on just sneaking in.

“We want to at least get third spot and get the double chance,” he said. “It opens things up a bit if you can do that.”

Elsewhere, Pereira said they are continuing to blood some young players with a number coming up from their junior program and more to come up next year.

He said they had a couple of disappointing results against the Redbacks, losing some matches they shouldn’t have.

In other A-grade matches, Diggers Rest fell just short against top of the table Wallan.

Not much separated the teams all day with the Burras leading by three goals at three quarter time.

The Magpies finished strongly to win, 52-50, to cement their spot at the top of the ladder.

Brigitte Linares, Leona Hristovska and Ashlee Harrison were the Burras best. Hristovska shot 28 goals for the Burras.

Macedon had a big win against Kyneton and Woodend-Hesket showed its strength against Riddell.