Melton Centrals will get a clearer indication of where they sit in the Riddell District Netball League pecking order over the next few rounds.

Centrals split their opening two matches, against Rockbank and Lancefield, with long-time Centrals coach Randy Pereira saying he wasn’t surprised by the results.

He said the match against Rockbank, which they narrowly lost, was impacted by a couple of their mid-courters being ill.

The side had 18 less scoring shots, but the final margin was only six goals – meaning they weren’t getting the ball down their end.

Centrals put in a much better performance against Lancefield in round two, scoring a convincing win.

Pereira said they were keen to see how they would fare against some of the favourites.

Last season was one of Centrals worst in a number of years.

“I think it should be a pretty good season,” Pereira said.

“Hopefully, we’re a better team than last year. We’re just looking to get another mid-courter.

“But we will not know where we sit until we play some of the better teams.”

Melton Centrals have a different looking line-up to last season.

Rita White-Kay returns after missing last season through pregnancy. She adds flexibility at both ends of the court.

Teagan Tily has come across from the Central Highlands Netball League and will provide some pace in the front half.

Isabella Masterson is another addition, while former Lancefield defender Ashlea Hyatt will combine with Caitlin Duncan in defence.

Ashley Gul has come through the ranks, along with Abbey Grant and Gabby Menabue.

Pereira said that while there had been a record number of players trying out for the club’s four sides this season, there was a lack of top-end talent.

That has led to star shooter Bec Morabito coming out of retirement.

Morabito, who has won the competition’s Ryan medal three times, decided at the end of last season to retire.

“It takes a lot to change Bec’s mind,” said Pereira of his daughter.

“I didn’t put any pressure on her. I said after a league coaches meeting, ‘If we don’t pick up another goaler will you play?’

“She’s starting to enjoy netball again. She didn’t enjoy it last year. She refuses to get paid and is playing for free.”

Off court, former Rockbank coach Lizzy Masterson has joined the club as a specialist coach.

She took the reins in Centrals’ win against Lancefield.

Pereira said it was good to have Masterson back at the club.

“I called her in October and spoke to her about being a specialised coach,” he said.

“The plan is, hopefully, she’ll take over running the show and I can step back and coach the lower grades. She’s been around for a long time.”

Melton Centrals have two weeks off with the Easter break and then the bye. Pereira said it wasn’t ideal, especially for some of the club’s lower sides. With Lancefield and Rockbank not having under-19s, Centrals’ under-19s’ first official game doesn’t come until round four.

Meanwhile, in round three Diggers Rest plays Wallan and Rockbank faces Broadford.


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