An experienced and patient Riddell District Netball League side has come out on top against West Gippsland.
But while the scoreboard showed an easy 48-37 win for the home side, it was anything but in Saturday’s AFL Victoria WorkSafe Country Championships match.
The RDNL’s less-than-ideal lead-up to the match involved a single training session.
Diggers Rest duo Toni Lind and Natasha Chokljat pulled out during the week due to injuries. With the need for an extra mid-courter, Romsey’s Cayley Armstrong became a late inclusion.
Three players were on minute restrictions due to their Victorian Netball League commitments, meaning they could only play half games.
RDNL playing coach Ciara Stewart said experience played a major role in adjusting to the late changes and securing the win.
Stewart, wing attack, said she and goaler Amy Carroll found the attention of the West Gippsland defence frustrating.
“West Gippsland had a really strong defence,” she said.
“They had a brand new line-up, too, and met for the first time on the morning of the game.
“But we were a more experienced team and it came in handy as we knew how to work through things.”
The RDNL started the better of the two teams and led 15-7 at quarter-time, but Stewart wasn’t happy.
“It was a good scoreline, but we didn’t play great,” she said.
“With only one training session, the attacking line-up took a while to get together. Prue [Stanley] started in centre and she hadn’t been able to get to training.
“We could have scored 25 goals in the first quarter.”
Stewart stayed with the same line-up in the second quarter and the lead was extended. She made several changes at the main break.
Once that line-up settled, the lead continued to grow. With five minutes remaining, Stewart shuffled the line-up again.
“No one was benched and there was no poor performers – we just wanted everyone to get court time,” Stewart said.
“That line-up wasn’t effective and that was the reason we lost the last quarter, but it didn’t matter as we had the game sewn up.”
Diggers Rest coach Amy Carroll was awarded the RDNL’s official best-on-court medal for her performance in goals.
Captain Katie Clarke was awarded best-on-court by her teammates for her defensive efforts.
Stewart said it had been good to participate in the match with a team that just wanted to go out there and play netball.
In the under-17s, RDNL was beaten 39-29.
Sunbury Lions’ Keara Fitzgerald was best on court for the RDNL.