Avenel recovered from a flat start to claim a one-goal victory over an in-form Stanhope.
The Swans were caught on the back foot early, with Stanhope racing out to a 7-1 lead within minutes of the first whistle.
But, as all good sides do, the Swans pulled it together to rein the margin in to see scores level by quarter-time.
‘‘We started really flat and they came out pretty fired up,’’ stand-in coach Laura Mundy said.
‘‘Their confidence was up from (beating Nagambie) the week before and it showed early on.
‘‘They were 7-1 up literally within the first two or three minutes of the game, but after that the tempo of the game settled a bit and we managed to claw our way back, thankfully.’’
Stanhope was relentless in attack, forcing Swans defenders Sarah Brock and Mundy to work overtime.
Their efforts were duly rewarded, with goalers Naomi Slade and Tegan Sidebottom ensuring Avenel’s scoreboard kept ticking over to give the Swans a narrow lead at half-time.
Scoring slowed for both sides in the second half, with both defences relentless in their pursuit of turnovers.
The ball made its way from end to end with intercepts aplenty and goals were hard to come by in the low-scoring affair.
The Swans managed to stretch the margin out to as much as three goals in the final term, but Stanhope fought back to reduce the margin to just a solitary goal late.
‘‘It was just a tussle all day. There was a lot of contested ball and it went up and back continually,’’ Mundy said.
‘‘Credit to each teams’ defence, because that was where the turnovers were coming from.
‘‘It was just a really good game of netball, one of those games where we just had to grit our teeth, just like we did against Murchison (where the Swans also won by a goal).
‘‘I guess, also, it’s really good to have these matches leading in to finals because we know we can knuckle down and get the win in tight situations.’’
Jess Hogan was pivitol through the midcourt for the Swans, while Mundy also praised the efforts of young star Mackenzie Garner.
‘‘Macca was really good for us in wing defence. She’s like a sponge at training and asks questions and really wants to learn,’’ Mundy said.
‘‘She has really worked hard to put what we’re practising at training in to her game on a Saturday and her hard work is really paying off.’’
While they may have got the four points to skip a game clear atop the ladder, it wasn’t all good news for the Swans.
The side’s injury list continues to grow, with Brock copping a rib injury and Mundy going down in the third term with a knee injury.
The star defender was having scans this week to determine the severity of the problem.
But, ever the optimist, Mundy said it gave some of the club’s up-and-coming under-17 stars the chance to taste top-tier action.
‘‘Alyssa Quigg and Dakota Griffiths have played a couple of games for us because we’ve had a lot of injury and unavailability this year,’’ Mundy said.
‘‘It has allowed those doors to open for them and they’ve been able to get a taste of senior netball, and we’ll probably be calling on those girls again this weekend.’’
It was another strong, positive hit out.
Despite a slow start, the girls were able to capitalise on loose balls and rebounds to convert with accurate shots on goal.
Well done to Libby for stepping into Sarah’s shoes while she is away, and another fantastic game by Teagan in the ring.
Gen again gave great ball feeds in and around the goal end, while our defensive combinations in Ros, Bec, Brooke and Dozz were simply too strong and showed fantastic determination to win any loose balls that came their way.
Captain Kel was again the ball winner all over the court. Her ability to chase and receive is simply wonderful to watch, resulting in a best-on-court performance.
The other award went to Bec for her strong and dominant defence.
Score: Avenel 53 d Stanhope 19
The C-grade girls had a great game against Stanhope, winning 31-25.
It was a full team effort by the girls and it’s great to have some girls back from injury and holidays.
This week was definitely not our best week.
We had a couple of injured and sick players which hurt us, but other than that the girls tried and gave it a go.
Unfortunately we came away with a loss against the skilled Stanhope team.
This week we played Stanhope at home. It was an excellent game to be a part of, coming away with a great win just to top it off.
The whole team worked so well together which showed with great team plays down the court.
The girls have all improved so much and all contributed to a great team effort.
Awards this week went to Abby Lazenby and Temisha Griffiths.
— Lower grade reports supplied by Avenel FNC