Sport

Junior development starting to pay off for Grasshoppers

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July 17, 2017

Rennie has strung two straight wins for the first time since 2015, prevailing against Tungamah by just two goals in a game of swinging momentum.

Rennie has strung two straight wins for the first time since 2015, prevailing against Tungamah by just two goals in a game of swinging momentum.

The Grasshoppers made the semi-final that year, only for the Bears to knock them out.

But after being too good for Katamatite last week the confidence carried into Saturday.

Remarkably Paula Mifka’s side rallied after being six goals down at three-quarter-time to gather the victory as the playing coach jumped on court to provide some experience.

‘‘I sat off for the second and third quarter to see the way it was going and came on in the last quarter and I think having that height and stability in shooter helped,’’ she said.

‘‘(At three-quarter-time) I wanted them to know they still actually can win and I didn’t tell them the score, but just said no matter what happens, we want to win this quarter.’’

The Grasshoppers well and truly dominated the final quarter, outscoring their opposition by eight goals to take the match.

But Mifka said her side was not losing focus on making the finals, despite only being one win away from entering the top five.

‘‘We talked about finals early on and the potential that we did have, but it’s been really difficult with manning a side weekly and we’re not getting stability out there,’’ she said.

‘‘Even if we win the rest, we have to be reasonably lucky because we’ve got the top teams coming.

‘‘I’m happy with my juniors. They’ve been my goal and they’re the key people in our side week in, week out, they work hard and are stepping up and playing really well.’’

Shepparton East clinched another tight match, with just two goals granting it the victory against Dookie United.

The Eagles have widened the gap to eight points between third and fourth, although United would still count itself a chance when finals roll around.

Waaia preyed on an undermanned Katandra line-up in a huge 46-goal victory, while Katunga gradually grew the winning margin against Katamatite out to 19 goals.

●In north-west matches, Jerilderie’s chances of making the finals have grown slimmer after a 69-37 defeat against Blighty.

Deni Rovers fought out a tough eight-goal win against Strathmerton, while Tocumwal showed it was a class above Picola United with a 31-goal victory.

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