BA­ROOGA NET­BALL

Bruce to step off the court af­ter win­ning sixth award

The Cobram Courier - - SPORT - Alex Mitchell

Ba­rooga net­ball play­ing-coach Sarah Bruce has done it again, win­ning her sixth club best and fairest at the Hawks’ re­cent pre­sen­ta­tion night.

In a dis­ap­point­ing sea­son re­sults-wise, Bruce was a shin­ing light, again de­liv­er­ing with con­sis­tency to lead her side.

She beat out de­fender Kristie Prim­mer who fin­ished as run­ner-up, while Chloe An­thony took the coach’s award.

Bruce said the award was hum­bling, but some­thing she’d be happy to part with for team suc­cess.

‘‘I’m hon­oured and feel very hum­bled that the um­pires feel I fit the cri­te­ria for this award, and it was nice for another de­fender and long-time lo­cal of the club, Kristie Prim­mer, to re­ceive the run­ner­sup,’’ she said.

‘‘Al­though, as hum­bled as I am, I am not play­ing net­ball at this level and at this stage in my life for in­di­vid­ual recog­ni­tion.

‘‘I would hap­pily forgo this if it meant we could play in and win a premiership. That I feel is the real holy grail of sport.’’

Bruce en­joyed coach­ing some tal­ented play­ers this sea­son, and felt the team’s 3-15 record didn’t show how strong the side had the po­ten­tial to be.

‘‘This sea­son I set my ex­pec­ta­tions high as I felt I had a very ca­pa­ble and univer­sal team,’’ she said.

‘‘Even though we only won three games for the year we were still a very com­pet­i­tive team.

‘‘The raw statis­tic of three wins does not re­flect just how much we pushed some of the top sides; we prob­a­bly per­formed bet­ter as a team against th­ese stronger sides.’’

She added in­juries had cru­elled the Hawks’ chances of more suc­cess, a clear run hope­fully lead­ing to a bet­ter record in 2018.

‘‘I have no doubt with some of the names the com­mit­tee has on its con­tact list Ba­rooga will again be a com­pet­i­tive team, but this time hope­fully able to cap­i­talise on this com­pet­i­tive­ness, turn­ing the close losses into wins.’’

Bruce said the hard work of un­der-17 coach Wendy Brooks was help­ing the club pro­duce a string of tal­ents who would help the club in the com­ing years.

‘‘A few of them al­ready stepped up this year and filled in for our se­nior grades.

‘‘I have no doubt that th­ese cou­ple of amaz­ingly tal­ented girls will step up and shine in the higher ranks of the se­nior net­ball grades at Ba­rooga.’’

Bruce has an­nounced she will not play next sea­son, aim­ing for more fam­ily time with her hus­band and two chil­dren.

‘‘I have played a lot of net­ball over the years and it has been a real jug­gle since hav­ing kids, so I am look­ing for­ward to hav­ing Satur­days back for a lit­tle bit.

‘‘It is not re­tire­ment just a well-earned break,’’ she said.

Car­men O’Dwyer won the B-grade vote count from Carly Mar­riott, while Cath Brooks won the C-grade award from Tay­lah San­der­son.

Amanda Mathers took out the C-re­serve award, with Sharon Nye the run­ner-up.

Call-up: Co­bram’s Jack Brooks, pic­tured with his un­der-17 lead­ing goal scorer tro­phy, has been se­lected in the Mur­ray Bushrangers 2018 TAC Cup pre-sea­son squad.

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