Falcons through

Maddie Gray stood up late for the Falcons. (Robbab Photography)

Tara Murray

The City West Falcons will again have two sides in the Victorian Netball League grand finals, but it was heartbreak for their third side.

The Falcons championship and under-19 teams won through the decider on Wednesday night, keeping alive their dreams of going back-to-back.

The Falcons division 1 side, which needed to win to make the preliminary finals, lost by one goal.

Falcons coach Marg Lind said it was exciting to get two teams in the grand final, but was it disappointing for the division 1 side to fall short.

The championship side had to pull on all their strength to beat the Geelong Cougars, 59-52.

Lind said the match was a challenging one.

“It was very physical,” she said. “I thought we had to stand up many times throughout the game and we responded really well.

“They have a little bit of a different attacking end. They can go a rolling circle and add some height with Daisy O’Kane.

“I think they threw out just about every line up they had and it was about that adjustment and not panicking and staying calm.”

While the Cougars threw their combinations around, the Falcons were limited to just eight players.

Missing two players at the World Cup, the Falcons looked to qualify Kim Borger and Molly Kennedy in the final rounds.

While they did that, Borger wasn’t able to play due to injury, while Kennedy was sick and missed the game.

The only changes the Falcons made were in defence, which Lind said was what they needed with the Cougars changing circle.

Jane Cook shot 48 goals for the Falcons, while it was Maddie Gray that really impressed Lind.

It’s one of the rare times that Gray has played the whole 60 minutes this season.

“She was smashed all game and in the last quarter under pressure with the Geelong bench volume she really stood up and took it.

“Maddie has done the hard work and we are one of the hardest working teams. We were confident that we could run out the game well.”

Lind admits that with missing two key players at the World Cup, that they didn’t want to have to make the grand final the hard way.

The under-19s were made to work hard for their win, winning against Melbourne University, 55-53 in overtime.

Lind said it was a nerve wracking game for the coaches on the side lines.

“They gave us a bit of a heart attack,” she said. “We were 10 up and then MU came back and we went away again.

“The last few minutes they were standing still and it went to a draw. We started overtime well and that was it.”

Lind said it was pleasing seeing the young players really step up when they needed to.

She highlighted the performance of Lani Fauonuku in over time, while Charlotte Sexton in her first VNL overcame early nerves to have a strong performance.

Both Falcons teams have next week off.