City West Falcons were unable to match Melbourne University Lightning in the Victorian Netball League Championship division.
The young Falcons were put to the test by one of the competition’s favourites.
Already a high-quality team, the Lightning added two former top-class players to the mix on Wednesday night – former Australian Diamond Renae Ingles and former Melbourne Vixen Chelsey Tregear strengthened the Lightning’s mid-court and helped the Lightning to a 68-48 win.
Falcons’ coach Marg Lind said the reality of playing against some high-quality players hit the younger Falcons.
“They got super nervous against some very experienced players,” she said.
“They are young players and got a heart attack when they saw who they were playing against.
“We had 10 errors from a handful of players in the first quarter and 35 handling errors for the game. At times they looked like deer in headlights.”
Lind said they weren’t helped by only being able to have their two available Australian Netball League players for a half. They were also missing goaler Tharjini Sivalingam.
Lind said experienced players such as Kath Knott and Maggie Lind looked the best in the loss.
Knott shot 34 goals from 37 attempts, while Maggie was composed in the mid court, having sent plenty of time practicing against Ingles last season while both were at the Adelaide Thunderbirds.
Lind said the experience had its positives, including the younger players being given the opportunity to learn from top netballers.
She said it showed where the two teams are at this season, with the Falcons focusing on youth.
“They have been beating everyone by 15 to 20 goals,” she said. “The result was what I expected and I’m not stressed about it.”
Lind said the next few weeks would be important in the context of the Falcons’ season.
“We want to stay in touch with the top four until we get all our ANL players back,” she said.
The Falcons are fifth with a 2-2 record.
The Falcons division 1 team had a 62-48 win, while the under-19s won 40-30.
The Falcons will this week face the Ariels.