AFTER numerous weekends with no game time this season, Lancaster were keen for some continuity.
In addition to the Easter weekend, the Kangaroos had last weekend off due to the Ardmona Seniors stepping down.
The side will have another weekend off in two weeks for the interleague bye.
“We’re ready for the season to become more consistent,” Lancaster coach Nick Bertoli said.
“While the time off was a bonus for players with injuries, we have some younger guys on the team who are ready for more game time.”
Bertoli said training had focused on raising the team’s playing standard.
“We’re hoping to see all the guys playing well, rather than the team relying on three or four players to carry them through,” he said.
Lancaster will take on Longwood in next week’s round.
“We don’t want to be complacent, heading into this game,” he said.
“We’re happy with the season so far, but we’re getting pretty frustrated with how much it’s stopping and starting.
“Hopefully we can get in a rhythm soon.”
DESPITE a solid win against Ardmona last weekend, Lancaster were determined to improve their game.
Coach Laura Thomson said the team – who beat Ardmona 42 to 37 – had dropped their playing standard in last week’s round.
“It was great to get the win, but we’re also aware we didn’t play our best netball,” Thomson said.
“In the past, we’ve played great sides who have matched our playing style, so we know what we’re capable of.”
The game was still considered an overall success, with the Wombats trying out some new combinations on court.
“We have three key players away next week – Leanna Couston, Eliza Grylls and Sophie Davies – so we wanted to test some of the younger girls in different positions,” Thomson said.
New A graders stepped up in last weekend’s game, with Emma Roberts, Ash Ryan and Zoe Backway standing out on the court.
“They’re all new girls, so it’s been fantastic to see them stepping up,” Thomson said.
“It’s great that we’ve had a win – now we know what it feels like, and that training does eventually pay off.”
GIRGARRE claimed its first win of the season, comfortably beating Longwood 51 to 30.
Coach Debbie McArdle said the win was encouraging.
“The game went really well – our positioning was solid, and we got some great goals in,” she said.
“Training paid off, as we have been focusing on getting the ball down to our goal end.”
Girgarre got a run on Longwood in the second and final quarters, scoring 14 points to the opposition’s four points in the last quarter.
“We hope to get a similar run in the coming game, and hopefully across all quarters,” McArdle said.
“However, we’re aware that we still have a lot of work to do.
“It’s going to be a tough game.”
Ashley Vick was named best on court in goal attack, while incentive was given to goal-keeper Erin Conneely.
The Kangaroos will focus on shooting and ball possession in this week’s training for the upcoming game against Undera.
“Now we have this win under our belts, we’re keen to keep moving forward,” McArdle said.
“We want to have more smart plays.
“It’s pretty straightforward; we just need to shut down the opposition in their attacking area, and get the ball down to our goal end.”
GIRGARRE trounced Longwood in last week’s match, winning 192 to 41.
With an even spread of players and 13 goal-kickers across the game, Girgarre were ensured an easy victory.
“It was a real team game – we stuck to our structures and no one hogged the ball,” coach Shannon Tucker said.
The Kangaroos were not satisfied to sit still after their victory, aiming to tackle ball skills in this week’s training.
“We cost ourselves some good goals at points, so we really want to work on kicking and decision making,” Tucker said.
“Still, we’re feeling good after our win.”
Matt Bartlett stood out as a strong player on the field, while Ben Shellie worked the ball well out of the back line.
Tucker said the team hoped to play a similar game in the upcoming round against Undera.
“We played the way we wanted to play, and hopefully we can take that consistently into every match.”
THE LIONS were in training mode despite no game at the weekend.
Stanhope held a training camp consisting of river runs, skill games and team bonding drills.
“The boys worked hard even though we didn’t have a game,” coach Brenton Gray said.
“We are looking for a win against Merrigum and they have to stay match fit for that to happen.
“The team is confident, especially considering the great result against Avenel. We know we can get the points but Merrigum have recruited some great players who we need to watch out for.”
Gray said he was disappointed with his side’s narrow loss to Nagambie in round two.
“It was positive that we picked things up again and convincingly beat Avenel but we know we can do better,” he said.
“The disruption early in the season because of missed games does affect our footy. That’s why we keep training to minimise the impact.”
STANHOPE Netball Club are keen to get back on court ahead of their clash with Merrigum this weekend.
The Lions are looking to bounce back from their round three defeat with the return of key players from injury.
“Emma Hill and Michaela Fisher will hopefully be back this weekend. They add depth to the team and will be a big boost to get them on court,” coach Kerrie Gray said.
“The depth in our junior side has allowed us to fill the holes left by injuries. Lily Holden stepped up from U17 and has been excellent.”
Gray said her team will not be underestimating Merrigum.
“Merrigum are always a challenge and this week will be no different. They have a new coach and are looking strong, so hopefully we can go out and put in a good performance,” she said.
“The disrupted start to the season has been a challenge but it’s something we’re adjusting to. It’s all part of the game and we will keep working to build our connections on the court.”
THE Bulldog’s continued their strong start to the season with a 14 point victory over Avenel away from home.
Avenel grabbed an early lead but the Merrigum midfield dominated and gave momentum to the visitors.
Coach Mick Power was pleased with his side’s ability to bounce back from a round three loss to Nagambie.
“It was a slow start again for us, which is something we need to work on. It was always a close game and they made us pay when we weren’t accountable,” he said.
“Avenel have a strong midfield and it was pleasing to win a majority of clearances for the day.
“We’re playing a quality brand of footy and it’s improving every week.”
Daniel Clarke was instrumental in the midfield and also pushed forward to boot two goals.
The Dogs’ defence held up well, with Bob Knowles and Greg Sullivan a standout.
“Joe Sullivan was dominant in the ruck. His experience and mobility around the ground is really important and he’s starting to make his presence felt,” Power said.
“Brad Power was courageous up forward and linked up well with other players all day.”
Merrigum will be tested this weekend when they host Stanhope.
“They’re always a challenge and they beat Avenel by more than we did. We’re confident in our footy and playing home will be advantageous,” Power said.
MERRIGUM Netball Club suffered a 17 point loss to Avenel at the weekend.
Injuries continue to plague the Bulldogs with key players Olivia Connelly and Millie Lowe missing.
Netball operations manager Kathie Dawson said it has been hard to build consistency without a full strength squad.
“The score line was not reflective of how the girls played - they played really well,” she said.
“There is always room to improve but the skill and desire is there. The team will benefit from having a consistent side and the ability to build partnerships.”
Allana Adams, who stepped into the team as a defender, has adapted well to her new wing attack position, Dawson said.
“Allana works really hard and is great feeding the ball into the goalers,” she said
‘Karen Hands also had a terrific game in defense. She is an extremely fair player but knows how to win the ball and will do whatever she needs to get it.’’
Dawson said Stanhope will be tough competitors and won’t give anything away easily.
“Hopefully we get the injured players back and get some consistency going. I’m confident we can have a win on the weekend,” she said.