"WE CHOOSE "
To be brutally honest, I was very nervous and anxious about how we were going to recover off two big losses in a row and taking on an in form Jets team that we lost to by 40 in the first round. We had a great, productive training session, the girls were upbeat and positive. But, from my own perspective I had let some self doubt creep in and could feel myself going on a downward spiral throughout the week as I started overthinking and over analyzing our performances over the past few weeks.
Sunday morning, I went and watched my baby play in an Under 8’s AFL carnival. The sheer joy on his face, his mentality to just love to play, to high 5 his team mates for the little victories and the complete absence of any pressure snapped me out my funk, and put it all in perspective.
This game needed to be a turning point. We choose how this pans out, we choose to have a positive attitude, we choose to play netball and fight for what we want out there. That was our message pre-game, each quarter break and each time out.
And by God did we choose.
We lost the first quarter by 2. The second quarter by 3, and the 3rd quarter by 5. Going into the final quarter, I asked the girls how we wanted the last quarter to play out. We were 10 down, did we want to lay down and accept that we put up a good fight, and be content with that and let the score line blow out? Or did we want to get out there, respect ourselves for what we had already done in the last 45 minutes, reward our supporters for their loyalty and reduce the margin?
They chose to fight. We drew the last quarter. At times we had even reduced the margin by 2 or 3.
Our home crowd was phenomenal. They really got behind the girls and showed them how much they believed in them. The 16 Cubs that came and played the exhibition match, sat behind the girls bench and cheered and shouted, showing how much the Panthers mean to them and their desire to want to be a Panther one day. This is what our #oneregiononevision is all about.
I found it very difficult to pick a player of the match for Panthers. Our young defenders were again magnificent. Kalei Brighton, Grace Taylor and Caitlin Skaines......they are playing beyond their years at the moment. Every week, I see them rise to another level higher than the week the before. And it is all because they have this opportunity to play this level of netball and all it affords them. I am excited to see what the next few years bring for them. Our mid court were impressive this week. Ada McKenzie and Jane Herrick had an exceptional first half. It was a very physical contest for them, and they had to work hard for every ball. I replaced them both early in the 3rd quarter (after Jets got a 5 goal run on) with Kendell Ross and youngster Cassidy Jocumsen. They came on an injected fresh legs, speed and stepped up to the challenge, and both played an outstanding game. The beauty of this team is, Ada and Jane knew they did a great job, and were so supportive to the girls that came on, providing feedback to them on the break and fantastic encouragement. Our shooters Khloe and Kiarah had a much better connection this week. I asked Kiarah to open the circle and change up her usual holding game. Once we got our rotations and screens happening, we found them easily in the circle.
Khloe was my Player of the Match for Panthers this week. She played her role at GA beautifully. Khloe will step up and increase her workload when needed, and clear out to create space at other times. She kept a clear, calm head this week, and it made all the difference in the attack end.
I love this team. I love our culture. I love our Region. And I could slap myself for getting into a funk and doubting.