Match of the round delivers high quality netball spectacle

Match of the round delivers high quality netball spectacle


It was billed as the match of the round and it delivered in spades as West Gambier mounted its premiership campaign with a six-goal victory over North Gambier.

West shooter and newly appointed co-coach Sarah Ritter showed the new role was going to have no impact on her on court output, netting 18 from 19 in the opening quarter.

It was a story of supply as much as anything, with West generating 25 scoring opportunities to North’s 19 and the Roos’ seven goal quarter time lead looked ominous for the Tigers.

But from that point on it was an arm wrestle as both teams upped the defensive ante to stem what was a free flowing opening stanza.

It was a 10 goal margin at the main break as Ritter (15 from 15) and Lisa McGregor, combined for 17 straight in a quarter of perfect shooting and the Tigers could thank the accurate finishing of new recruit Kelly Lockwood and emerging star Macey Griffith for remaining in touch.

Stella Mobbs entered the game during the second quarter at goal keeper and teenage shooter Mischa Himan, making her A Grade debut, was tactically subbed into the contest in the third quarter at goal shooter and the tall timber at either end, combined with smoother transition from the Tigers saw them start to mount a revival.

But in the end, North just could not eat into the deficit and entered the final quarter 12 goals down.

The Tigers definitely got the better of the final quarter to bring that back to a six goal defeat by the final whistle but coach Kaitlin Egan would have been happy with what she saw from her young players, including Ava Collins, Mobbs and Human.

It was, of course, the always consistent mid court stars – Brianna Walters and Mel Renko – that led the way.

Walters with her hard running and perfect delivery and Renko, back in her old stomping ground of wing defence, making life tough for the Roos feeders while also being a key player in transition.

Ritter was best for the Roos with her final game tally of 44 from 53, while Mikaela Horrigan, who spent the off season morphing into a circle defender, was impressive in tandem with Amy Cram.


The Saints head to Island Park missing a few key players for their opening round clash with Casterton Sandford but the makeshift line-up got the job done with a 41-23 victory.

Nikeisha Facey, who has been a mainstay of defence for many a season, took the goal shooter bib, while Abby Denton was elevated to goal attack, the third player in her family to take that role for Millicent, while the rest of the line-up was relatively stable.

The Cats had some new faces of their own to unveil with Dartmoor’s Holly Smith taking the goal shooter bib, with Chelsea Hulm earning the starting goal attack role, Indi Longhurst taking the wing attack role and Chloe Finnigan, another new face, joining Ebany Jarrad in the defensive circle.

Finnigan’s arrival has freed up the athletic Caeleigh Humphries to roam the mid court at wing defence and that move looks set to pay dividends with Humphries clearly the Cats’ best.

Both sides looked a little rusty as they tried to find some chemistry with their new look line-ups and in the end, things were tied up at eight-all at quarter time.

It did not take long for the Saints to react as the defensive combination of Portia McRae and Lauren van Eeden, who were named their team’s best, putting the clamps on scoring opportunities with their tight checking and ability to read the play and create turnover ball, while the Facey-Denton shooting combination started to find better space and ball and Facey settled nicely to net seven from eight.

It saw Millicent enter the half time break nine goals clear and Cats coach Jodie Humphries looked to juggle her line-up moving Caeleigh Humphries to goal attack and bringing the speed and fresh legs of Madeline Patton into the wing defence role, as well as switching her defensive circle to move Finnigan back onto Facey, who suddenly looked dangerous.

The moves were unable to stem the flow as McRae and Van Eeden only conceded three goals for the quarter, assisted by the mid court pressure from Lisa Duldig and Edie Easterby, while in the shooting circle, Facey continued to be the focal point as she worked in combination with Lillie Paul, who took the goal attack bib during the main break.

By three quarter time the lead for the visitors was 16 and while Casterton Sandford generated more scoring shots in the final quarter they were unable to eat into Millicent’s lead.

Madalene Cleary, along with Humphries, was best for the Cats, with her hard two way running in centre, while the Saints circle defenders were named best, with Facey certainly getting the job done in that unfamiliar role with Daisy Tunkin delivering the ball with pinpoint accuracy.


New East Gambier coach Malinda Foster was able to celebrate her return to the Bulldogs with a win and an impressive individual performance as well, as her team took care of an undermanned South Gambier in the opening round.

The Bulldogs line-up barely resembled any line-up we have seen from the club in recent seasons but it proved effective, leading by three at the first change, the same margin at half time, five at the final change and then a seven goal final margin.

Foster combined in goals with Ambah Beveridge, who provide her worth in 2023 with limited opportunity, while Casey Horrigan moved from goals to the centre and Sharna McKinnon earned the chance to take the goal keeper bib with Foster opting to play Morgan Amy and Bo Creek in a rotating role between wing defence and goal defence.

Creek certainly proved her worth as she dominated the air and thrived on being able to roam the mid court to take a number of key interceptions, while Foster and Beveridge shared the shooting responsibilities, with Foster’s second half performance of 15 from 18 at goal attack earning her one of the best player accolades.

With South Gambier teenager shooting sensation Graice Dalton unavailable and new recruit Teresa Humphris also missing, the Demons had to put out a very different looking line-up with new recruit Ash Widdison impressing as the focal point for the shooting circle.

She combined well with Megan Reid, who took the goal attack bib after years in the mid court, but used her speed and timing to great effect, while taking on the Bulldogs premier defenders in tag team – Amy for the first half and Creek in the second.

Mykaela Thiele was solid alongside Ellie Bouchier, while Tully McShane’s defensive efforts on the wing were impressive.

South generated 63 scoring shots to East’s 60 so accuracy on the finish will be a focus of training ahead of Anzac Day but there were enough signs to think, South can compete.

In the end, East’s superior accuracy on the finish and ability to create turnover ball through Creek, Amy and McKinnon was the difference.

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