ECHUCA’S senior women’s team was eyeing off a double-chance as it heads into Sunday’s clash against Shepparton Bears.
The side secured a spot in the Northern Country Women’s League finals on Sunday following a 16-point win over Mooroopna at Mooroopna Main Oval.
But it now looked to improve its position of third on the ladder with two wins to round off the season.
Four teams would make it into the elimination round of finals with one and two playing off for a chance to go straight through to the grand final.
The losing team would have then play off against the winner of three and four, and coach Mick McInnes said they wanted badly to secure that second chance.
‘‘It’s really important for us to make that top two and have a double chance,’’ McInnes said.
‘‘We always hoped at the start of the year to play finals and we now have the opportunity to finish second on the ladder to Bendigo Thunder who are a great side.
‘‘The first time we played Shepp Bears we had a few of our midfielders missing but we’re confident we can get on top of them this time.’’
McInnes said Sunday’s performance was the best team effort he’d seen all year.
And the Cats didn’t make it easy to deliver a physical contest in what was a must win game in terms of their finals chances.
McInnes said they had to earn every ball and work hard for their contested possessions.
Their first encounter at Victoria Park saw the Bombers up by 17 points and to come through with another good win brought a lot of excitement to the team.
‘‘Our midfield worked well together as a team to deliver the ball to Sophie Douglas who capitalised down forward,’’ McInnes said.
‘‘When she kicks a few for us we usually win.
‘‘Our captain Kate Dixon lead the charge there and it was probably the best captain’s game I’ve seen from her.
‘‘The backline also held up well, especially with Chrystal Baker in centre-half-back, she’s become a real general down there and her agility sees her take a lot of crucial marks.’’
Douglas finished on four goals, moving her into second on the leading goal kicker ladder with 19 for the year, with Kym Mundie, Kelley Walker and Dixon also scoring one.
It was only her second time in a defensive role and was likely to be playing the position for the remainder of the season.
Tayla Stewart and Aisha Kirchhofer had also stepped up from Youth Girls to play their second senior game.
‘‘Tayla gives us a lot of leg speed through the midfield and Aisha is always reliable down back,’’ McInnes said.
‘‘Aisha looks like a seasoned campaigner out there and knows when to run off and take marks.
‘‘Both girls have a really strong future in the sport.’’
A season-ending injury for midfielder Renee George meant she would miss finals.
She ended up with a broken wrist after being tackled in the first quarter and landing badly under her opponent.
She was taken to Shepparton Hospital shortly after and put in a cast.
‘‘She’s a strong contributor for us off half-back and will be greatly missed,’’ McInnes said.