I reckon we played about 48 minutes of great netball in the match against Wildcats.
How do I feel about this?
Not too shabby, actually. This game really needed to be a turning for us as a unit. My last article was a bit of tough love for the girls. I sent it to them before it was posted to the website, to give them the opportunity to discuss with me and provide feedback. Only one player contacted me to address the points. I could take this one of two ways……that they had a read and thought Bec is a negative hag and her expectations are way too high, or they read it and took accountability and would bring it to the next game.
They did bring it to the game, for about 48 minutes. We still had our little lapses (our “Brain Farts”) but they recovered the margin time and time again. We had it back to even a couple of times, and I just believed that if they could crack it and take the lead the result may have been very different. It was a shame we let it slip in the last 6 minutes, as the final score truly wasn’t a reflection of the game.
Our mantra for the game was the Vince Lombardi quote “Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is”. We were winners for 48 minutes. This is progress, and testament to their character. We have played 3 games in 7 days with no training in between to identify and work through issues, and get strategies in place for the team we are coming up against. We suffered two big consecutive losses and morale wasn’t great. I am proud of the resilience they are showing.
It was hard to pinpoint a best on court for us. The defensive unit of Kalei Brighton, Courtney Bailey and Caitlin Skaines applied pressure to the Wildcats attack end, and really disrupted their normal flow. Wildcats shooters are accurate and can shoot from range, so our plan to force them baseline and contest 1 v 1 hard worked as they lost balls out the baseline, forced balls and became less focused on their shot.
We worked hard on centre pass defence. Another key area where we wanted to focus on pushing them high and wide to stop their run on through the middle. We were unlucky quite a few times, it would have been very close to a held ball. Great communication, hunger and fast week by Elisa Dennis in C and the defensive unit.
Elisa was again very solid both in attack and defence. She is really running the middle well, and we have worked through her timing and identifying when she needs to enter play with strong drives. Most importantly, her on court leadership, positivity and work ethic are our glue out there.
We were much more patient in attack, using our connections to feed from circle edge. Our prelims seemed to be stronger, and with more purpose. Feeding into Kaylin for the first 3 quarters was relatively easy, with Kaylin again shooting at 90% accuracy with 45/50 goals. The much more experienced Wildcats GK turned it on in the last quarter, limiting Kaylin’s opportunity for ball. This is great experience for young Kaylin, and we will continue to work on her mental toughness and keeping her body strong and straight.
I’m pretty sure we had two Sapphire umpires for the game. I thought they let it flow well. They allowed both teams to contest ball and were consistent through the court. The final quarter saw the game get very scrappy, with Panthers frantically trying to recover the margin, and Wildcats frantically trying to hold onto it. It came down to who wanted to win more. I believe we wanted to win more, but we lack the experience in playing to the umpire calls, and using our bodies (and heads) better to draw the penalties. Only 6 down with 6 minutes to go, the game was not lost by any means. This is something we will continue to work on, by working through different scenarios at training, and what we can do as a unit to work through it.
Our stats from this game focused on our defensive turnover conversion rate. It was sitting around 48%. Basically, for every ball our defence turn over, we are only scoring roughly 5 goals off them. We need to look at picking this percentage up, because it really can make a difference in outcomes.
One training session, and we tackle our next game Tuesday night.