Image supplied by the Standard
Welcome to another Round of Hampden Netball. With great weather conditions predicted for this weekend, let us hope we see some great crowds around the grounds.
Results don’t get much more exciting that last week’s games with all 5 matches being decided by less than 8 goals. Amongst the highlights Portland fought off a gallant Hamilton Kangaroos to take their first Premiership points. Cobden turned the tables of the last Grand Final to defeat Koroit by 5, and in a fast paced, highly skilled game, South Warrnambool and Camperdown played out a draw.
Warrnambool take on Portland Tigers at Deakin. Warrnambool have a few new players on their list this year and are taking a few games to find their flow but they will continue to get better with more match play and should take the points here. North Warrnambool travel to the Leura Oval to test their skills against an improved Camperdown. Both the Eagles and the Magpies boast strong defenders and accurate shooters but the strength of Camperdown’s midcourt will be a key factor in this game and I think they will win in a close one. Cobden host Port Fairy at bomberland. Port Fairy will have trouble finding answers to combat the accuracy of Cobden’s goalies. Cobden should make it 4 from 4. Terang Mortlake do battle against the Hamilton Kangaroos. I predict this match to be another close one but the home court advantage might be just enough for Hamilton to be in front at the finish. Koroit V South Warrnambool – played on Good Friday.
I can’t recall any other year, where we have had so many young players playing Open Grade Netball across all clubs. This is fantastic, not only for the future of the clubs, but also for our league. To date this season, there have been thirty six 15, 16, 17, 18 and/or 19 year olds take the court (in Open Division) for at least a quarter.
They are Krystal Baker (19) and Mary Place (16) – Camperdown; Lara Taylor (16) – Cobden; Jedah Huf (17) and Hollie Phillips (17) – Hamilton Kangaroos; Isabella Baker (17), Millie Jennings (15), Tayla Mcinerney (17), Molly McLaren (14), Vanessa McLaren (19) and Layla Monk (17) – Koroit; Tahni Porter (16), Maddie James (18) Amelia Kline (16) and Claudia Sextus (18) – North Warrnambool; Tessa Allen (17), Tara Elliott (19) and Indiana Ryan (18) – Port Fairy; Heidi Jones (17) and Katie Zeunert (19) – Portland; Mali Baillie (17), Meg Kelson (18), Olivia Marris (17), Ally Melblom (18), Isabella Rea (19) and Emma Stacey (18) – South Warrnambool; Maddison Chesshire (17), Laura Ritchie (19), May Suhan (17), Alice Tanner (18) and Grace Wareham (16) – Terang Mortlake; Ava Bishop (17), Matilda Fitzgerald (17), Ava Pearce (17), Jessica Thwaites (19) and Hannah Van Zyl (16) – Warrnambool.
After being forced to take a year off last year due to COVID, there was some concern about the numbers returning to community team sport, and also, the junior players missing a whole year in their respective junior grades. This list of talented players have certainly made this transition look easy and I will watch with great interest the progress of these players and the impact they have on the Open Grade during the year.
With so many young players being exposed to this level of Netball, I imagine it might create a few headaches for our selectors when they name the teams for the upcoming Association Championships. It will be interesting to see how our teams fare at the Preliminary Rounds which are being held in Ballarat on June 27th. The finals will be held in Melbourne on July 18th.
The first of the tryouts for the 13/U, 15/U and 17/U Association Championship teams were held last night and the next selection date is tomorrow, May 2nd at the Warrnambool Stadium.
Good Luck to all teams playing this Weekend.
Author: Josie Logan