Coach ral­lies side to re­main alive in tight fi­nals con­test

Kyabram Free Press - - SPORT - By Char­mayne Al­li­son

STAN­HOPE A grade net­ballers will roar into the Kyabram and District Net­ball League semi­fi­nals af­ter snar­ing a 10-goal win against Murchi­son-Toolamba on the week­end.

Down in the first quar­ter, Stan­hope coach Ker­rie Gray ral­lied the troops to see the Lions bounce back to be two goals up at half-time.

Af­ter re­gain­ing con­trol of the game at the start of the sec­ond half, Stan­hope built to a fi­nal score of 36 to 26.

“It may not have been our best net­ball this week, but it was good to get the win,” Gray said.

“We were a bit flat across the court. We’ve been play­ing re­ally well into the fi­nals, so I was ex­pect­ing an off-week would come at some point.

“The girls still put in a great ef­fort, but no sports team can af­ford to play to the best of their abil­i­ties ev­ery week.

“It was a good round to play a game like this – had it been an­other week we may not have been so lucky.”

While the first term may have boded a bleak end­ing to the game for the Lions, Gray said she used the quar­ter break to bol­ster the team’s con­fi­dence.

“I ab­so­lutely knew they had the abil­ity to do it. We just needed to re­set and re­fo­cus. They’re a great group of girls and didn’t hes­i­tate to get out there and get the job done,” she said.

Stan­hope heaped on the de­fen­sive pres­sure through­out the game, with strong pas­sages of play mov­ing the ball con­sis­tently down to the goal cir­cle.

Sarah West was named MVP, gen­er­at­ing plenty of turnovers through­out the game, while Jenna Oliver also stood out in de­fence.

In­jury-free and at full strength, the Lions will use this week’s train­ing to re­group.

“We’ll just be work­ing on get­ting con­nec­tions hap­pen­ing and mov­ing the ball with con­fi­dence,” Gray said.

“We won’t be chang­ing a lot in th­ese fi­nal weeks – now is not the time to in­tro­duce new tac­tics. As long as we con­tinue to build on the ba­sics, that’s what will see us play well.”

Up against third-placed Tal­ly­ga­roopna on the week­end, Stan­hope will be grit­ting them­selves for a chal­leng­ing game.

“It’ll be a re­ally tough match. They’re jam-packed with ex­pe­ri­ence and we know they’ll come out fir­ing,” Gray said.

“We’ll need to play our best net­ball this week if we want to score a win.”

Stan­hope’s Jamieson Vick looks for a pass.

Lions coach Ker­rie Gray.

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