ONCE again it was a case of so close, yet so far for Camperdown’s open netballers as they were beaten in a third consecutive Hampden league grand final.
The Magpies were made to work hard for early scores but remained in touch at quarter time, trailing 14-10.
Camperdown’s shooting duo began as they ended the preliminary final, with Jaymie Finch under the post and sister Emily taking on the goal attack role.
This lasted just one quarter before the pairing reverted back to their more accustomed positions.
Ashlea Spokes entered the game in the second term at wing defence, after last week feeding the circle so brilliantly from wing attack.
The Magpies immediately made inroads, as they drew level with the Saints.
Leah Sinnott left the court late in the term with the blood rule, as teenager Chelsea Baker was brought on to finish the half.
Koroit were able to regain the lead by the main break, going ahead 25-23.
For the third quarter Baker moved into centre, Spokes to wing attack and Caitlin Hall from centre to wing defence, in a formation that had worked well for the Magpies in the preliminary final.
Koroit shooter Nell Mitchell was proving hard to nullify under the post, with a steady circle feed from the Saints’ midcourt as well as goal attack Carly Pulling.
Pulling was making life tough on Camperdown’s defence, but not in a shooting capacity.
She continually drew the attention of Magpies’ defenders, which freed up Mitchell into one-on-one contests, as the Saints game plan was being ideally executed.
By three quarter time, Koroit had built a five-goal advantage.
The Saints’ line-up remained unchanged throughout the match, as Camperdown continued to shuffle their side.
Due to league policy, Baker’s minutes were restricted to a maximum of two quarters after earlier playing in the 17 and under match.
The Magpies did not get full use of their star junior, sacrificing crucial court time when she entered the game for Sinnott during the second term.
Henzen returned to wing defence for the final quarter, while Sinnott was back in wing attack, as the midcourt reverted to the original starting positions.
Despite reducing the margin to three, the Magpies were kept at arm’s length.
Camperdown was quickly running out of time, as Magpie veteran Emily Stephens entered the game at wing defence late in the final term.
With two minutes remaining the deficit was five, the same margin at the same time as seven days earlier against North Warrnambool.
However unlike the previous week, the Magpies were unable to break down their opposition.
Koroit defeated Camperdown for the third time in open netball grand final history to be crowned queens of the court for the ninth time.
Jaymie Finch was the Magpies’ leading scorer with 25 goals.
Koroit’s veteran wing attack Jacqui Bowman earned the Peta Richardson Medal for best on court in the grand final.