By Matt Fotia (@fotiamatt)
Beaconsfield Netball Coach Kelly Whitecross says her side must go to the next level through the mid court if they’re any chance of toppling ladder leaders Olinda Ferny Creek in this seasons Premier Division A Grade.
The Eagles are sitting in second place on the Premier Division ladder after they completed the double over arch rivals Berwick on the weekend with a pleasing four quarter performance, 64-21. Whitecross enjoyed having a full squad at her disposal for the first time in awhile.
“The girls were good, we haven’t had a full side for a number of weeks, so having all the girls there was motivating for them,”
“I’ve got a few VNL (Victorian Netball League) players – Bianca Sanzaro, Rylee Nelson, Tenielle Morrell and Ash Gill.”
The fixturing of this seasons VNL and AFL Outer East have allowed Beaconsfield access to the aforementioned players on a more regular basis than last season which is pleasing for Whitecross, especially with finals on the horizon.
“It’s been much better this year, in the SEFNL last year we went to the first two finals with half of our team out, which was a challenge,”
“This year none of the girls are in VNL finals which helps, the scheduling has been heaps better compared to last year.”
Whitecross came into the competition with a considerable amount of intel on the Eagles new opponents through her days in the Waverley competitions and knew it would be a tough standard.
She compares the undefeated Olinda Ferny Creek to Tooradin-Dalmore, who dominated the netball in the now defunct SEFNL, but has been impressed by the overall level of all sides in the Premier Division.
“Olinda Ferny Creek for us are like Tooradin last year,”
“They’re that team that will be super tough for any team to beat, they’ve got some up and coming VNL players and some ex-VNL players which helps,”
“Otherwise we’ve found all of the teams tough. We’ve played Wandin twice and they’ve given us and Cranbourne a tough time with their style of netball,”
“It’s a great comp with a really good skill level.”
The Eagles have retained the majority of their 2018 squad, which reached the preliminary final, only losing their skipper Kaela Hughes who moved to Sydney for a job as a Paramedic.
Whitecross believes that the continuity they achieved allowed the Eagles to start the season well.
They’ve carried that momentum on throughout the season, continuing to notch up victories despite an ever increasing injury list, with goaler Bianca Sanzaro going down again on the weekend.
Beaconsfield will be hoping that their squad will be fighting fit sooner rather than later though as they look set to go deep into September, where they’ll likely to come up against regular foe Cranbourne and the indomitable Olinda Ferny Creek.
“Cranbourne are tough for us, they’ll win one, we’ll win one, it all depends on which of us is having the right day.”
“It’s interesting with Olinda Ferny Creek because Peri (Stewart) is obviously a great goaler and netballer in general, but I actually attribute their success to their mid court,”
“I don’t think she (Stewart) is such a worry for our defenders, it’s their mid court that’s the key, and I don’t think people spend enough time worrying about it,”
“We probably don’t quite have the experience that they have, so hopefully we can work around it when we play them in a couple of weeks and figure out how we’re going to approach it in finals.”