By Mark Heenan
One of Ocean Grove’s A Grade most significant victories came at a cost on Saturday with senior netball playing coach Elyse Howard unlikely to play again in 2019.
The Grubbers won a must win Round 17 clash over Battle of the Bridge rivals Barwon Heads at Barwon Heads Foreshore Reserve on 10 August to consolidate a top three finals spot.
Howard who suffered a calf injury in the first quarter of the 45 to 42 victory over the fifth-placed Seagulls, was forced to coach from the sidelines in the second half.
Howard said she is a doubtful starter for BFNL finals and will miss the club’s Round 18 clash against Queenscliff on Saturday.
An interrupted pre-season sidelined Howard with a badly broken right leg at a training mishap in 2018.
“I doubt I’ll be back this season, but I’ll wait and see (the) prognosis,” Howard told the Voice.
“I hurt it at the end of the first quarter.
“I won’t be playing (against Queenscliff this Saturday).”
MEANTIME a win from its final home and away Round 18 game against Queenscliff will book a top three finals berth and guarantee Ocean Grove at least two finals.
The Grubbers sit in outright third position with a 13-4 record, while reigning BFNL A Grade premier Modewarre (12-5) is one game behind in fourth spot with a superior percentage.
Howard said the improved performance against Barwon Heads was needed after a below par 20-goal win over Portarlington in Round 16.
“(The) Barwon Heads’ win was very important to keep us in the top three, so it is a relief for our group of girls,” she said.
“We played a lot a better, however we let them (Barwon Heads) back in the game.
“We really worked on our patience and delivery… (that) was so much better from that regard.”
Grubber goal shooter Rebecca Scott shot 35 goals from 44 attempts, while goal attack Julia Allan scored eight goals, and team-mate Ally Swift shot two goals.
Howard praised Ocean Grove playing assistant coach Kate Slattery, named in the best players, after adjusting well to a new role at centre.
“Kate Slattery is playing a new role in centre and really stepped up,” she said.
“She is learning the position, but her strength and her height in that position is really positive for the group.”
Grubber star defender duo Lucy Vercher and Candice Parker continued their rich vein of form and were dominant contributors.
Towering Barwon Heads’ goal shooter Monique Adams shot 29 goals from 44 attempts, while Seagull player Karly Teasdale scored 13 goals.
Ocean Grove consolidated fourth spot on the B Grade ladder with a 34 to 24 victory over Barwon Heads. Grubber goal shooter Abbey Badrock, named in the best, scored 20 goals, while team-mates Isabel Hackett and Meg Badrock were star contributors in the win.
The Grubbers (14-2-1) hold top spot in the C Grade with a superior percentage over Geelong Amateur following its 25 to 16 win over Barwon Heads. Grubber trio Heidi Bennett (12 goals), Jesse Sutton (8 goals) and Tina Birch (5 goals) all scored in front of goal.
Ocean Grove will finish D Grade in first position after their 19 to 12 victory over Barwon Heads.
The Grubbers have a 15-2 record and two games ahead of second-placed Geelong Amateur. Grubber pair Shereen Wolfe (11 goals) and Maddy Goodger (8 goals) scored, while team-mates Jen Wood, Taryn Stanley and Bridget were named in the best.
The top of the table clash between Barwon Heads and Ocean Grove finished in a tie at 23 all. Tall Grubber goal shooter Constance Smith topped the scoring with 17 goals.