Heartbreak for Macedon after losing a thriller

Rupertswood's Clare Johnson and Macedon's Chloe Wilson. Picture Shawn Smits.

By Tara Murray

Macedon’s dreams of back-to-back Riddell District Netball League premierships ended on Sunday, but it wasn’t without a fight.

In a grand final to remember, the Cats fell agonisingly short against Rupertswood, with one goal the final margin.

The Cats looked the likely winners having led for most of the match.

But the Sharks refused to give up and kept the pressure on.

It was goal for goal late, with the Sharks winning 44-43.

Macedon’s Hayley Birch. Picture Shawn Smits.

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Cats playing coach Ciara Stewart said it was an outstanding game of netball.

“I thought I would be more devastated about it being one goal, but I’m not,” she said.

“Our girls were outstanding. We couldn’t play the perfect game and it was the odd errors we did make that were costly.”

Stewart admitted they weren’t at full strength, but still put out a really strong game.

She said they didn’t pick up as many intercepts as they would have liked.

“We need to get 16 intercepts and as a team we got eight.

“It was tight player on player and we didn’t get the clean recoveries which would have given us more chances.”

With the Sharks coming at the Cats in the last quarter, the Cats needed everything to go their way.

In a big hit for them, Karlee De Bono went off injured late in the game.

De Bono had battled a torn calf throughout the finals series.

“She was still able to play three quarters and we were happy with that,” Stewart said.

“I looked at her at the start of the last quarter as she was sore, but she said she was right,” she said.

“I probably should have made that change then, as we lost an attacker, but that’s the way it goes.

“We couldn’t have done anything else. Players like Shannon [Blackman] and Clare [Johnson] come through for them in the end.”

Chloe Wilson was outstanding for the Cats, shooting 40 goals from 43 attempts to be their best.

Stewart said despite not being able to replicate what they did last season, it was a season to be proud of.

“We had the same side as we had last year and the year before,” she said.

“We’re just a group of friends doing what we do.”

It was a tough day for the Cats’ under-19 girls, losing the grand final to the Sharks, 31-11.

For the Cats, who lost their goal shooter to a knee injury just before finals, making the grand final was a massive achievement.