By Matt Fotia
Cranbourne Netball Club coach Donna Wilson says the Eagles will continue to develop their youth as they look to sew up their spot in the Premier Division netball finals after their 10 goal win over second placed Beaconsfield on the weekend.
Wilson was pleased to grab the four points to maintain third position on the ladder, but says the result was nothing to ‘write home about’ as heavy rain reduced the game to almost walking pace, with Beaconsfield finishing the game a player down.
Once again the Eagles defence was the cornerstone of their victory. Cranbourne and Beaconsfield have both conceded just 316 goals for the season and are ranked equal second behind top of the table Olinda Ferny Creek (295).
Wilson lauded the season of Peninsula Waves squad member and 2018 SEFNL Best and Fairest winner Tara Cecil, but also the young players that continue to rise through the Eagles ranks.
“Obviously we have Tara so our defence is always strong, but the other positions have seen us blooding some new young players who are really beginning to blossom,”
“The young girls love playing with her (Cecil), she brings them all up to the level.”
Tiana Butler is one of those developing netballers who have begun to progress well for Cranbourne this season and was named as their best player during the weekends victory.
“Tiana is one of those young ones who’s stepped up this season, she started in C Grade this year and is definitely a player of the future,”
“That’s always the number one thing at Cranbourne – keep bringing the young girls up through the grades.”
Wilson’s enjoyed the evenness of the Premier Division this season and has stressed to her side that they must come ready to play each and every weekend. She also praised the completeness of the undefeated Olinda Ferny Creek.
“It’s a really even competition, you have to be on your game every week to get a win, there are absolutely no guarantees,”
“Olinda’s defence was the biggest thing for me. Their defensive end is brilliant, we pretty much covered Peri Stewart with Tara, but we couldn’t break them down enough to put together a winning score,”
“I was like wow – they’re a complete team.”
Wilson has been the head coach of the Eagles for the past four seasons and last season her side came from fourth place to make the SEFNL Grand Final, which they went on to lose by 31 goals to Tooradin-Dalmore.
Wilson believes that the pressure of finals brings the best out of her group.
“When it hits finals these girls find another level – I’ve learnt to stop stressing about where we exactly finish – I just get them there (finals) and they take over and thrive on the atmosphere.”
Cranbourne have two weeks off before they face fourth placed Woori Yallock at home in Round 12.