A HUGE win for Echuca’s A grade netballers has kept them firmly in the hunt for Goulburn Valley League finals.
The Murray Bombers expected a difficult encounter after an 11-goal loss to the Shepparton Swans in round four, but returned the favour away from home on Saturday to win by 13 goals.
On a congested GVL netball ladder, they now sit seventh with an 8-7 record, but are just half a game back from fourth with a favourable fixture to end the season.
Echuca coach Casey Frame said a fast start guided her team to the important win.
‘‘It felt like we were in control from the get-go; Shepparton had a lot of injuries throughout but it didn’t rattle us,’’ she said.
‘‘We should have won by more, the last five to seven minutes we could have pushed on a bit but we were lucky our first three quarters allowed us that.’’
The coach said the win again highlighted what her young side was capable of.
‘‘It’s awesome, our skill level is as good as any other side in the top six,’’ she said.
‘‘Our problem is when things don’t fall our way we can lack a bit of maturity, but I’m really proud of the girls.
‘‘Not many teams can say six of their eight players are less than 19 years old.’’
A fast start always critical, the Murray Bombers flew out of the blocks to lead 14-7 at quarter-time.
The Swans lifted and evened play up in the second term, but hit half-time still in some trouble trailing by eight goals.
‘‘We started really well, we had a great first quarter and we just kept building,’’ she said.
‘‘We were really proactive, it was simple things like being first the ball. Often we go too fast when attacking, but we were steady and composed on the attack end.
‘‘Our girls really held their ground, our young girls and even Drysy (Lisa Drysdale) are coming along really well with that.’’
Echuca was well positioned for a fantastic win and showed strength throughout the second half to take the win 53-40.
Frame said it had been a very different match than the round four meeting between the sides.
‘‘The first time we didn’t have Hilly (Erin Hill) which was a massive inclusion for us, because she brings confidence and leadership to everyone around her,’’ she said.
‘‘I don’t think Shepparton had a full team, but we played so much better.
‘‘I always talk about inconsistency, we often play three good quarters and one really bad one, so to see a full four-quarter effort was really pleasing.’’
Goalers Drysdale and Liv Hannon excelled despite the windy conditions making it a tricky day for shooting.
Hannon played goal attack for the first time this season, which Frame said opened up plenty of space on the attacking end.
Echuca will face Shepparton Bears this week, a difficult encounter with the Bears 12-3 this season.
But with Rochester and Mansfield to come in the following two weeks, it is still in good shape for finals should results around the league go its way.