By Hugh Fitzpatrick
In what has been an up and down season so far on the netball court for Yarra Glen, player/coach Alicia Mortley (aka Hughes) has remained calm to help guide her side to three successive victories.
If being a player coach wasn’t hard enough, Mortley’s Yarra Glen kicked off their 2019 season in A grade against tough opposition, playing the top three of last season in the opening three rounds.
“The first three rounds were challenging, we played the top three sides and suffered heavy defeats however I was confident that the girls would respond, and that’s been shown in spades.”
Yarra Glen are a very inexperienced side and given their lack of experience of A Grade Netball, Mortley had the task of turning a team full of exceptional individuals into one that works with synergy.
“The players early on were incredible players individually, however we had to really work on making sure we play as a team and connect as one.”
In the final quarter against Yea in round five Mortley saw the beginnings of how good her side could be, despite the final result suggesting otherwise. Even though the Tigers doubled the Riverpigs score in the last quarter of that game, the coach was impressed with their ability to compete with the divisional benchmark.
“It was a really tough match, at three quarter time I could sense frustration amongst the girls however the way they played in the final quarter was brave and gave me confidence that we can be competitive against the best.”
To say the tides have turned would be underplaying it, Yarra Glens form of late has been sensational.
Nicole Moate who has been moved from position to position across her time at Yarra Glen has embraced her time in Goal Attack, scoring 21 goals against Alexandra and 26 against Powelltown.
“Nicole has been amazing this season, whenever I give her a role she puts in 110 percent for the side, she has really made the Goal Attack position her own and is showing what she’s capable of,”
“I love these girls, I love playing with them and I love coaching them” she says.
Yarra Glen take on Gembrook Cockatoo in what is going to be a must win clash as the side as they look to extend to a four game winning streak and solidify their spot in the top five.