Tongala pushing through their mental Blues

By Brayden May

TONGALA'S biggest focus this season has been learning the skills required to play A grade netball - most importantly the mental strength. 

On several occasions, the young Blues have dropped their heads at critical stages of games with the scoreboard blowing out in the process.

But on Saturday against Murray Netball League premiership contender Echuca United, the Blues dug deep in the second half despite the game being out of reach.

And coach Caddison Mulholland said she couldn't have been more pleased with her side's desire.

"Earlier in the year we would have hit a wall and gone away from our game," she said.

"Our big focus at half-time was to contest every ball and not allow any easy passes, which I thought we did really well.

"The girls didn't let United get into their head which is a massive win. Playing against the top sides is great for the girls' education.

"United are a terrific side and they've shown us what happens if everyone sticks together."

When the pressure was at its highest in the first half, Blues young gun Grace Hammond made her presence felt.

Not fearing her senior opponents in mid-court, Hammond did everything she could to swing the game in her side's favour.

"Grace played really well against a good side," Mulholland said.

"Unfortunately she finished the game with an injury but she should be really proud of herself.

"Against good teams, younger players can go into their shells but she hasn't looked out of place at this level all season."

The 39-goal defeat sees Tongala sit outside the top eight by just two points behind Congupna heading into the final game of the season.

If they are to qualify for an unlikely finals appearance, the Blues must defeat Nathalia away from home and hope Barooga do them a favour by defeating the Road.

"We've just got to go out and give it our best," Mulholland said.

"There is going to be a bit of pressure going into the game but it will be another good lesson for our girls."