The opening half of the contest between Souths Lions and Maryville Tavern Alize – second and third place coming into the round – was close for the first two quarters, but a second half surge from the Lions decided the key match-up.

Remaining just two points behind West Leagues Balance 1 and ahead of the mid-table pack may be crucial for the Lions, but it didn’t play on the team’s minds before their 54-41 victory, nor will it after, club captain Narelle Eather revealed.

“It was a strong win coming through in the second half, so we’re happy with that,” the long-time veteran said post match. “We [want to] just play each week as it comes, our aim every week is to come away with the win and keep chugging away until finals.”

“We don’t pay much attention to the ladder each week, we just want to win and keep improving until the end of the season.”

Despite the second place club’s players focusing inwardly, Eather admitted Souths knew “[Maryville] would be strong” in the fifth round clash, and singled out the opposition’s goal shooter – Emily Leto – as “very strong” and “good in the air”.

“We know what they’re like, we’ve been playing them for years,” she said. “They came out early in the first half really strong – we knew they would be strong – [and] they kept at us until at least half time before we started to pull away. Their shooter [Leto] … had some great shooting percentages.”

The Lions’ captain also pointed out her team’s changes in the off-season, including “a lot of new young players”, and praised their ability to fit in “quite well”.

“We have a few new players this year, and everyone getting together on the court each week is good,” she said. “We’re coming together really nicely. I think we’re going to be even stronger than we were last year.”

“[The whole team] is gelling well, and we’re happy to keep coming here each week and chugging along until we get to the finals.”

In the earlier fixture, Forysthes Business Advisors gave West Leagues Balance 1 a fright early on as they led 22-21 at the half time break, and threatened to break the defending champions’ undefeated start to 2018.

Wests 1 rallied in the second half however, eventually taking control of the match to stretch the margin to 12-goals over the course of the third and fourth quarters and securing the 49-37 victory.

Also at 2.30pm, West Leagues Balance 2 fell to Nova Thunder by just three goals, 37-40, while BNC Whanau moved into third place behind the Lions with a 44-33 win over Souths Pride in the later fixture.

First published as: Second half decides Souths-Maryville contest