Roos and Burras set pace
Dimboola is determined to reclaim a spot in finals this year, and nothing was clearer as it entered Wimmera Netball Association’s 2019 A Grade competition with force on Saturday.
The Roos missed finals for the first time in years last season and their quest to advance up the ladder received a round-one boost as they notched an impressive 51-goal victory over new-look Nhill.
The Roos kept a relatively consistent team composition coming into the season and gelled well as a result, making life tough on Nhill, which struggled to penetrate Roos’ defensive line.
Dimboola’s Olivia Jorgensen and Rhiannon Butler led the way in their side’s 80-29 season-starting win.
Nhill signed former A Grade netball coach Mandy Stephan to lead the team again.
She said she would love the her side to be more competitive in 2019.
But while the Tigers were well served by Catherine Bates, the outfit was unable to secure a firstround win.
There was still cause for Nhill celebration on Saturday, with Emma Dickinson playing her 250th club
game for the Tigers in B Grade. Stawell is preparing to battle it out against Ararat in a Good Friday game this week.
The Warriors had a tough 2018 season, winning just two matches, and couldn’t match Southern Mallee Giants’ pace in a 48-61 roundone loss.
Stawell put up a fight though, with best-player accolades for Jemma Clarkson in attack and Tarnee Orr in centre.
The new-look Giants will be buoyed by a first-round win, goalies Steph Thomson and Amy Dodds contributing a healthy 32 and 29 goals respectively for their side.
Ararat, meanwhile, recorded an exhilarating one-goal victory against Warrack Eagles.
The Eagles return to the competition with nearly all of last year’s side, and player continuity has been a strong feature of the outfit in previous seasons.
But the Rats ultimately took victory in the tense first match, converting just enough chances to hold on against the fast-finishing Eagles after leading by five goals at the final change.
Horsham Saints will need to shrug off a comprehensive 24-goal loss to Minyip-murtoa.
Saints Ashlee Grace and Elly Barnett were shining lights, but the Burras’ height served them well, shooter Kirby Knight and Jessica Elder in defence best-on-court for the victorious home team.
Round-one results: Southern Mallee Giants d Stawell 61-48, Minyipmurtoa d Horsham Saints 52-28, Dimboola d Nhill 80-29, Ararat d Warrack Eagles 49-48.
MILESTONE: Nhill netball stalwart Emma Dickinson played her 250th game for the club on Saturday. Dickinson and her B Grade team-mates recorded a four-goal win against Dimboola. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER