THE Girgarre A-grade side will aim to bounce back into the season after last week’s interleague bye.
Taking on Rushworth this weekend, coach Debbie McArdle said the team felt positive.
‘‘The game will be a good test for us to see if we can hold our own,’’ she said.
‘‘Hopefully we’ll turn up this week and come out with a win.
‘‘Once again, we’re going in in the dark – first rounds are tough because you have no idea what you’re up against.’’
The team will work on perfecting strategy in training this week.
‘‘We had solid playing in the last round and got the ball up to the attacking end quite a bit, but didn’t convert much,’’ McArdle said.
Only five games in, McArdle said she feels confident about the season so far.
‘‘I’ve really enjoyed coaching so far, as it’s been a great challenge,’’ she said.
‘‘I’m feeling very positive about the girls this season.
‘‘If we can get wins closer together, we’ll hopefully do well.’’
AFTER a tough start to the season competing against three top teams, Girgarre finally have two massive wins under their belts, with more hoped to come.
It has been a stop-start season for the Kangaroos, with last week’s interleague bye and another bye in two weeks.
While the erratic games have made it difficult for some teams to settle in, Girgarre Football Club Vice President Mark Summers said high commitment levels in Girgarre have kept it strong.
“We have great numbers at training and a good team culture – that’s what it’s all about at the end of the day,” he said.
“This year has attracted a lot of quality players to the team.
“They’re a pleasure to work with, not just as footballers, but as people as well.”
Summers said this positive team culture – which the club has been building for over six years – was strengthened by Shannon Tucker’s coaching.
“Shannon has taken us to the next level,” he said.
“He’s come up with a game plan that works for the team, and has attracted the right players.”
Opposing Rushworth in this week’s round, the Kangaroos expect a competitive game.
“Rushworth have improved, so we just need to play well on the day,” Summers said.
“We’re going in positively.”
THIS week’s round will be a buzz of activity for the Lancaster A-grade side, as the club hosts a number of reunions.
With a 10-year reunion and a 20-year reunion of past players set for this weekend, Lancaster netball coordinator Sherry Atkins said the upcoming game could draw a crowd.
‘‘There may be more people attending matches than usual,’’ she said.
‘‘It’ll be good to have that energy around the start of the season, to keep spurring the girls on.’’
Atkins said the team had a strong kick-off to the season, guided by coaches Laura Thomson and Bec Monk.
‘‘They’re working well together, particularly as they’re a very young team,’’ she said.
‘‘I only see them improving as the season progresses.’’
Taking on Undera this weekend, Atkins said the team hoped to secure a win.
‘‘Undera are always a competitive side,’’ she said.
While most Lancaster players enjoyed a restful weekend off, top players Leanna Couston and Sophie Davies represented their team at the interleague bye.
Atkins said both players did the team proud, with Couston captaining the winning team.
‘‘It’s great to get the best players together and highlight them for their outstanding performance so far,’’ she said.
‘‘And having one of our girls lead a team to victory makes us very proud.’’
THIS week’s round against Undera will be a stand-out for Lancaster, as the team remembers club legend Col Dixon.
As part of the Colin Dixon Memorial Day, Dixon’s family will select the best Lancaster player of the match, awarding him the Col Dixon Medal.
Coach Nick Bertoli said the day would be a special occasion for the team.
‘‘It’ll be great to remember who Col was and what he did for the club,’’ he said.
‘‘There’ll be a good crowd coming to watch as well.’’
Bertoli said the team was confident about the upcoming game against Undera, with training focused on building a never-say-die attitude.
‘‘We really want to focus on giving second or third efforts, and consistently working hard each quarter,’’ he said.
The team aims to dominate the next three games against Undera, Rushworth and Girgarre.
‘‘We don’t want to look too far past those games – we’ll get to our next bye in four weeks and then reassess,’’ Bertoli said.
‘‘Regardless, we won’t take any opposition team lightly.’’
STANHOPE will be tested this weekend when it faces an unbeaten Violet Town at home.
The Lions have made a strong start to the season with three wins putting them fourth on the ladder.
Star forward Jack Exell will be looking to continue his run of form after booting five goals in his interleague debut for the Kyabram District Football League.
The forward excelled as the Kyabram District heaped misery on Golden Rivers, winning by 83 points.
Exell, who joined the Lions after successful stints with Bendigo Pioneers and Geelong in the VFL, received plenty of recognition from interleague coach Steve Reeves.
‘‘Jack is an excitement machine and is a joy to watch,’’ Reeves said.
‘‘Every time the ball goes near him you immediately think something is about to happen.’’
The lively left-footer has kicked 27 goals in four games for the Lions this season, including a 12-goal haul against Merrigum a fortnight ago.
If Jack Exell continues to flourish for the Lions this season, Reeves would not be surprised if the silky footballer found himself playing at a higher level again.
‘‘I reckon I am pretty confident in guessing that Jack would have plenty of phone calls coming his way, if he has not had them already,’’ Reeves said.
THE LIONS are looking to make amends after a disappointing loss to Merrigum in round five.
Stanhope has struggled to find consistency amid a disrupted start to the season.
Coach Kerrie Gray said it’s hard to build momentum with constant interruption.
“We now have a solid run of games and we can start to play some consistent netball,” she said
“Defensively our girls were outstanding against Merrigum. There were some great passages of play, but we need to do it over the whole game and not just for five minutes.
“The girls are more than capable of winning consistently. This next run of games will be a good test for us and allow them to gel as a team.”