Sixth straight win takes Swans into third

Matt Hewson

South Barwon moved into third place on the Geelong Football Netball League A grade ladder after a convincing 71-33 win over St Mary’s.

Goal shooter Ellen Doyle continued her hot run of form, shooting 60 goals to lead the Swans to their sixth straight victory.

Doyle has been a focus point for South Barwon throughout the season, shooting 40 goals or more every game since round 9.

Swans coach Jordee Nichols said while Doyle was “fantastic every single week”, she was particularly happy with the performance of her young defensive group.

“Our defensive end are really young, and they’ve been working really hard at training,” she said.

“We’ve got Maddie McKiernan, who plays for City West Falcons in VNL, but she’s also come up through South Barwon since under 13s, as has Caitie Kennedy, and we’ve got Georgia Corbett as well.

“On the weekend they had somewhere between 15 and 20 intercepts, which is unreal, so I was really impressed with our defensive effort.”

Nichols said her team was starting to come into its own after a period of rebuilding.

“When I got asked to coach last year I knew we were going to be pushing a lot of our juniors through and it was going to be pretty tough for a couple of years,” she said.

“But I think the girls have surprised themselves, they’ve honestly been unreal. Last year was a real learning curve for them, we lost a couple of really close ones by just a couple of goals due to inexperience.

“But after having that season under their belt they’ve just absolutely flown this year.”

Nichols said despite the one-sided scoreboard the match was a hard-fought battle from start to finish.

“We may have won by 35, 40 goals, but it didn’t feel like that on the court at all,” she said.

“St Mary’s are always pretty consistent for four quarters and they’re very competitive on the court, so we knew we had to play well to take that game.”

The Swans have the bye this weekend before playing their last three games against Leopold, Bell Park and Colac, a run home that will test the young side.

But Nichols said she was looking forward to the challenges the last three games will pose.

“I prefer to play tough teams on the run home,” she said.

“I think it’s important, especially now the win against St Mary’s means we’re definitely in the finals.

“We beat Leopold pretty convincingly last time but I don’t think that’ll be the case this time. They’re very strong and their coach is amazing, so they’ll have done a bit of research on us.

“And having Bell Park and Colac to end is pretty tough, but I’d prefer that, to be honest.”

Nichols said the mood in the team was buoyant as finals approached.

“I’m very, very proud of the team,” she said.

“We’re just a big group of best friends, and they play their best when they’re enjoying it, laughing and having fun out there together.

“It’s really great to see them all out there smiling and dominating at an A grade level.”