Coach rallies side to remain alive in tight finals contest
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.