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  • Hampden sides chasing two Western Regional State League under-age titles

    2018 - 07.03

    THE Hampden league is guaranteed to win one Western Regional State League (WRSL) title. It’s up to Sarah O’Meara and her troops to claim the second.
    Nanjing Night Net

    O’Meara is at the helm of the Hampden Green side which meets Colac and District in the 15 and under grand final at the Arc tonight.

    The teenagers finished the seven-round season on top of the ladder with a 6-1 record and saw off Warrnambool City Gold in a semi-final last week.

    Their opponent was third after the qualifying rounds, emerging with a 5-2 record, but edged out Hampden White in the other semi-final.

    The 17 and under grand final is an all-Hampden affair with Green taking on White, leaving O’Meara’s side with the task of completing the clean sweep.

    Her 10-player squad includes five from North Warrnambool Eagles — Kaitlyn Clifford, Zoe Bussell, Phoebe Wittmann, Molly McKinnon and Ashlee Kenna.

    Cobden’s Molly Hutt, Portland’s Tayla Telfer, Warrnambool’s Taylah Antonio, South Warrnambool’s Lana Hirst and Terang Mortlake’s Georgia McKenzie complete the line-up.

    “They obviously hadn’t played together at the start. We were a bit all over the shop but we’ve really gelled well together,” O’Meara said.

    “When they steady and play their own game, that’s when they play their best. Across the board they’ve improved so much over the last few weeks.”

    O’Meara said she believed Hampden Green was capable of making the grand final when she finalised the line-up but “it’s all about whether they gel together”.

    “We don’t get much training time. It’s a bit hard because they’ve got their own commitments. They’re coming together each week and working well together.”

    O’Meara, who is coaching in the WRSL for the first time, said she had also enjoyed the experience.

    She has previous experience working alongside Jackie Smedts with the Eagles’ 13 and under side.

    “It’s been really good for me and just getting to learn from the girls as well has been a good experience,” she said.

    She predicted a tight match against Colac and District. Hampden Green won both qualifying encounters, by 27-12 in round two and 31-27 in round seven.

    “They’re very strong, very physical, and they’re quick as well. It won’t be an easy game,” O’Meara said.

    Hampden Green starts favourite to win the 17 and under grand final, having gone through the competition unbeaten. Its semi-final against Colac and District finished 59-30.

    Hampden White’s only defeat was at the hands of Green, 36-27 in round six. It edged out Camperdown Night in the other semi-final, 42-36.

    The opposing coaches bring vast experience to the match. North Warrnambool Eagles’ Sharon Kenna is at the helm of Green, while Koroit’s Stacey O’Sullivan is guiding White.

    The action starts with the 15 match at 6.30pm. The 17s take to the court at 8pm.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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