Pies display fight against flag favourites

Camperdown wing Caitlin Hall drives her side down court under close guard from Cobden’s Molly Hutt during the round nine open netball clash.

CAMPERDOWN open netball coach Brooke Richardson knows that part of her side’s finals destiny will be out of its control.

The Magpies mentor said her team, which is currently sixth, will be likely fighting with Terang Mortlake (fifth) and South Warrnambool (seventh) for the final spot in the top five once the second half of the season gets underway this weekend.

The three clubs each have 4-5 records and are separated only by percentage, but all sit eight points adrift of fourth placed Warrnambool, a gap which gives the Blues some handy breathing space ahead of the final nine rounds.

“I think some of it will be out of our control in terms of other teams like South Warrnambool and Terang Mortlake,” Richardson said.

“But I think heading into the next half of the season we are coming in stronger.

“We don’t have to try new things because we’ve already done that, so I feel we can be stronger playing teams we’ve already lost to.

“We just have to get our toe in the door really, that’s our goal.”

The Magpies had its hands on fifth position before last week’s match against Cobden, but relinquished the spot after losing.

However, Richardson walked away from last week’s 52-40 defeat with plenty of positives, but conceded a slow start ultimately proved costly.

“Even though we did come away with a loss, I was quite pleased with our ability to adapt during the game,” she said.

“Quite often throughout the match there were injuries so there were a lot of breaks, but I was really pleased we were able to transition and fill spots well and maintain our momentum.

“We lost the first quarter by eight but we were able to match it with them for the rest of the game.

“Our starts in previous weeks have been good but last week it wasn’t which was unfortunate, but there are a lot of positives to take out of it heading into this week.”

Richardson is pleased with how well her players have gelled to date, and said that was the biggest positive of the year thus far.

She said her side had been able to build strong connections in the face of regular changes to their combinations and was pleased with how they had all adapted.

“Our ability, if we have had to, to make changes has been quite seamless and we have made really strong connections,” she said.

“Obviously against every team you can tweak things to make it better but the girls have been really good when they have been moved around.

“They’ve all been able to make strong connections with the people around them which has been good.”

Richardson also highlighted the performance of new recruits Jess Cameron and Amanda Gilbert, as well as the returning Grace Lucas.

“Our newbie’s, Jess and Amanda, have fitted in really well and have played some big roles for us,” she said.

“And the likes of Grace, she plays with a lot of grit and determination and has been great to watch.”

With nine games to play, Richardson said her side would need to make improvements in a couple of areas if it was to eventually claim the final spot in the five.

She said their defensive pressure and intensity needs to rise, and that remains the key to the Magpies producing strong performances.

“I think our defensive pressure and intensity can lift and again that has to be for four whole quarters,” she said.

“That’s a big one for me because I think everything bounces off that.”

Camperdown gets its opportunity to land a blow on fellow finals fancy Terang Mortlake this weekend, with a Magpies’ win tomorrow at Terang Recreation Reserve potentially enabling them to reclaim fifth position.

Camperdown and Cobden netballers pulled up their socks for a good cause as they showed support for South West’s Big Freeze event last Saturday.

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