Games hits new heights

The Riverine Herald - - GAME ON -

THE sea­son has flown by, so it’s im­por­tant to take a mo­ment to re­flect in the heat of the bat­tle.

Net­ball, and the qual­ity of the game, con­tin­ues to im­prove in the twin towns and that was seen on the courts over the nu­mer­ous Satur­day and some­times Sun­day games of the past six months.

Let’s take a look back on how the best of each club, the A grade com­pe­ti­tion played out over both the Mur­ray Net­ball League and Pi­cola and District Net­ball League.

Echuca United

The Ea­gles soared in what should have been a try­ing time for the club.

United flour­ished un­der their own low ex­pec­ta­tions, due to new coach Ro­han Starkey step­ping in to re­build the ma­jor­ity of the A grade side.

What even­tu­ated from all of that was a slow start — which is to be ex­pected as an amal­ga­ma­tion of 2017’s B grade and com­pletely new play­ers took to the court.

From there the Ea­gles dom­i­nated nearly ev­ery side they faced (bar Moama).

To fin­ish in the eight, and make the sec­ond week of fi­nals is a fan­tas­tic ef­fort for the side, and they should be proud of how they rep­re­sented the club through­out the sea­son.

Grad­ing: A.

Lock­ing­tonBa­mawm United

In stark con­trast to the Ea­gles, the Cats had a sea­son to for­get.

Of their 16 games this year, LBU col­lected three wins and a draw.

Fin­ish­ing the year just one win ahead of bot­tom-placed El­more, the Cats fin­ished 14 points off the play­offs.

Cats coach Amanda Walker didn’t have huge ex­pec­ta­tions at the be­gin­ning of the sea­son, look­ing to build a plat­form on which her side could grow in fu­ture years.

And it seems to be they have achieved that in part. They would have wanted at least a cou­ple more wins chalked up be­fore the start of Septem­ber, but over­all not the worst.

Grad­ing: D.

Pi­cola United

In the first year of the new-look com­bined Pi­cola and District Net­ball League, United adapted well to reach fi­nals af­ter many failed at­tempts in pre­vi­ous years.

The Blues set a goal to be in­side the eight come Septem­ber time, and they were.

A fan­tas­tic achieve­ment for a team that has missed out on a fi­nals berth for years by such a lit­tle mar­gin.

Leesa Hoop­pell’s A-graders com­pleted their mis­sion, and with an even ledger at the end of the nor­mal sea­son, have a great plat­form to build greater suc­cess in years to come.

Here’s hop­ing the Blues re­tain the ma­jor­ity of their squad head­ing in to the 2019 sea­son.

Grad­ing: B.

Ton­gala

Oh, what could have been. Af­ter all these years of dom­i­nance, it turned out that in­juries would be the Blues down­fall.

Af­ter start­ing off with five-straight wins, the Blues started to have is­sues, as their more se­nior play­ers started drop­ping like flies.

Coach Dy­lan Nex­hip threw some play­ers into the mix, in­clud­ing nam­ing some ju­niors who will no doubt be a big ad­di­tion to the team in com­ing sea­sons.

But the sea­son ended with the Blues es­sen­tially fall­ing into the fi­nals, and go­ing out in the first week.

It wasn’t com­pletely in their con­trol, but un­for­tu­nately this has to be seen as a fail­ure for the Blues.

Grad­ing: C.

Luke He­mer.

RI­VALS ON COURT: Echuca United’s Amy Sher­lock tries to in­ter­cept a pass in­tended for Ton­gala’s Abby Pet­tifer in the MNL A grade net­ball match. Photo:

Luke He­mer.

ALL IN: net­ball. Mathoura’s Mada­lyn McKel­lar and Pi­cola United’s Emma Greaves clash in PDFNL A grade Photo:

Cather­ine Grey.

BOMBER BLOCKADE: Leitchville-Gun­bower’s Tahli Br­ere­ton looks to block LBU’s Michelle McIn­tosh in HDFNL A Grade net­ball.Photo:

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