City West Falcons are not being weighed down by the chase for an undefeated Victorian Netball League championship division season.
The Falcons made it a perfect 15-0 start to the season with a hard-fought 55-47 win over Peninsula Waves at the State Netball and Hockey Centre on Wednesday night.
The superiority of the Falcons, a surprise to coach Marg Lind, has put them in a position to achieve the perfection of a 20-win season.
“We’re not really thinking about it because at the end of the day it is what it is,” Lind said.
“We’re in a position that we didn’t think we would be in and we’ve done better than we would’ve thought.
“There’s been weeks where we could’ve lost games and we didn’t.
“Of course, it would be nice to go through undefeated, but I don’t think it’s a focus of ours at all.”
The prize at the forefront of Lind’s mind is defending City West’s premiership from last season.
Lind will continue to make her decisions based on what is best for the Falcons in the finals in August, not on staying unbeaten in the home-and-away rounds.
The game against Peninsula Waves was a prime example, with Lind deciding it was time to try different combinations on court, just in case they might be needed in the finals. She was even questioned by her coaching staff when she threw up some left-field moves. Those moves worked, but could have potentially spoiled the perfect season had they not come off.
“I just think we’ve got to be open-minded and be prepared to reinvent the group now, which sounds stupid because they have been going well,” Lind said. “But I think to win finals we’re going to need some variations.
“I think the team that best reinvents themselves in the next four or five weeks will have the best chance of winning.”
There have been times throughout the season when City West had to dig deep in the dying minutes to secure wins.
There was only a goal in it against Peninsula before the Falcons rallied late to win by eight.
The Falcons simply do not crack under pressure, nor do they ever lose their appetite for a win. Lind believes the winning mentality is partly driven by the players and partly driven by her assistant coaches.
“That comes a little bit from Andrew McInerney, he’s a former state men’s netball player and he’s a real competitive defender,” Lind said.
“And you’ve got ‘Richo’ [Nicole Richardson], an Olympian, sitting on the bench, and they hate losing.
“There’s been weeks where I’ve been sitting back thinking we’re going quite well and they’re just demanding more and want the girls to play out four quarters every single week, which I think is nearly impossible, but that’s where the mentality comes from.
“They could’ve easily lost this week.
“With about four minutes to go, we were only a goal up.
“We just seem to hang in there, we just seem to fight hard.”
City West’s quest for 16 in a row will unfold against North East Blaze at the SNHC on Wednesday night.