In a tremendous effort, the ECU Souwest Jets delivered their third win of the 2018 West Australian Netball League season on Friday night.
The West Coast Warriors ventured to Eaton Recreation Centre and were forced to play in front of an overwhelming Jets’ fanbase.
The home crowd roared during the first quarter, with both teams playing fast, energetic netball.
Both sides refused to back down, while the players put their bodies on the line.
As the term drew to a close, the Jets appeared nervous as West Coast extended its lead.
The Warriors’ speed and accuracy ensured a 16 to 9 lead at the first change.
Having experienced a strong victory in round six and a narrow loss in round seven, the Jets refused to keel over.
Jets Harmony Sutherland and Jessica Repacholi kept the Warriors on their toes.
The duo worked overtime to set up chances for forwards Maia Bratton and Giselle Taylor under the ring.
The team pulled together and entertained the fans, clinching a 27 to 25 lead at half time.
As the second half wore on, the Jets edged closer to victory.
Crowd members raved as Jets’ goalkeeper Riley Culnane made a handful of interceptions in the third term.
Claiming a six-point buffer at three quarter time, they looked set to secure their first ever win on home soil.
West Coast, however, regained the momentum that saw them defeat Perth in round seven.
The visitors closed the gap and found free spaces in the Jets’ defence throughout the final term.
Following a brief lapse in concentration, the Jets reengaged and held on for a 53 to 46 win.
Jets’ coach Erin Culnane was thrilled by her side’s performance.
“We came to win – we’re starting to expect to win – and for us to come back, remain positive, and fight the way that we did against a team of that calibre is really great,” she said.
“I was really impressed with the team and the way we held onto the consistency and the positivity.
“We struggled to make a mid-court connection, so we fought through that and we changed that.
“Bringing Brook Repacholi into the middle created a link from the front end to the back end, and got more balls to the shooters.”
Mrs Culnane said they have made vast improvements in maintaining full-court defensive pressure.
Facing off against the Rangers in round nine, the Jets have a tough task ahead of them.
In the South West Netball Football League, Carey Park nabbed a 47 to 42 victory over Eaton.
Fresh off their come-from-behind win over Bunbury in round 12, the Panthers were determined to crush the Boomers.
The result made for the league leaders’ 11th win of the 2018 season.
The Bunbury Bulldogs dispatched Augusta, 58 to 44, on Saturday, before achieving a 56 to 46 win over Harvey-Brunswick-Leschenault.
After a slow start, the Busselton Magpies earned a 22-point win (62 to 40) over South Bunbury.
After 13 rounds, the Bulldogs are third on the ladder – behind Carey Park and Busselton – while the Lions sit in fourth place.
Eaton remains fifth, South Bunbury is sixth, and the Hawks are residing at the bottom of the leaderboard.
Carey Park and Busselton will do battle in their top-of-the-table clash this weekend.
Eaton will take on HBL, while Bunbury and Augusta-Margaret River will face off at the South West Sports Centre.