The River Murray Netball Association A grade senior side kicked off their country championship weekend against Northern Areas.
River Murray looked strong and sharp with Emily Paech and Brianna Burt feeding in quickly and accurately to Kate Treloar and Rachel Gassner in goals.
Northern made changes to their goalies in the second half to their advantage and unfortunately Murray’s first game nerves took over and Northern took the game 32-25.
The second game of the weekend is where River Murray started to settle and play as a team.
The strong defensive efforts from Jessica Crocker and Shayelan Paech at goal defence and keeper respectively, were rewarded with Murray picking up their first win for the weekend, beating Mallee 25-15.
The third and final game of the Saturday was a nail-biter.
Molly Adler worked the centre court with great speed, picking up loose balls and intercepts along the way.
Going into the second half down by one goal, Burt moved into goals with Gassner, while Treloar moved back into defence alongside Paech.
With level scores throughout the second half, River Murray lost the game to Yorke Peninsula 2 by only one goa,l 28-27.
River Murray started Sunday morning positioned fifth on the A grade ladder.
The first game of the day was against the first-placed Mid-South East team.
Less than a minute into the game playing coach Jemma Woollard, at centre ,collided with the opposition, falling to the ground with a season-ending injury.
Wing attack Kimberly Rathjen’s leadership skills and experience shone with the loss of the playing coach, directing play to her younger team-mates.
At half time MSE only had a four-goal lead 11-7.
Unfortunately while Murray bettered their own first half score in the second term, MSE’s goalies were on fire and they took the win 29-15.
Game two against Whyalla and game three against Yorke Peninsula one were tough. With only eight players available, River Murray couldn’t win a trick.
Whyalla defeated River Murray 20-14; Yorke Peninsula 1 defeated Murray 34-13.
The fourth and final match of the weekend was against Kowree Naracoorte Tintinara.
With Jemma making it back to the courts in time to coach, albeit on crutches, the girls took to the court fired up and ready to play as a team.
Halfway through Brianna Burt took a thump to the eye, sending her off to the injury bench.
Jodie Burt was playing her absolute best game of the weekend at wing defence; nothing she could do would go her team’s way.
River Murray held their heads high s they walked off the courts with an eight-goal loss 25-17.
“Young River Murray players gain so much experience playing representative netball”
Finishing the weekend seventh overall, it was a fabulous weekend of netball with plenty of laughs and tears.
Well done River Murray A grade and get well soon Jemma Woollard.
Player by player
Molly Adler (Imperials): Molly’s strengths lie in the centre court. With great speed and drive, her flow down the court will help settle the senior side. Molly was unavailable for Woodside, but she was looking forward to playing in Adelaide.
Brianna Burt (Jervois): Versatile in the attacking line-up. Due to the lack of goalies in the team is lining up there on a regular basis. Confident to shoot from anywhere and follows her rebounds well for any unsuccessful long bombs.
Jodie Burt (Jervois): Lining up alongside her sister Brianna, Jodie is best suited to mid court but can bring some magic to goal defence if needed. Played well at wing defence at Woodside and was an obvious improver over the four games.
Jessica Crocker (Ramblers): A regular on the Country Champs scene, Jess brings experience to the senior side at such a young age. A through and through defender, her ability to read the play and take intercepts out of nowhere are true assets to the River Murray team.
Rachel Gassner (Ramblers): A late call up for the River Murray side, Rachel came to the rescue of a side desperate for some goalies. She has stepped up to the A grade side for her Mannum team this year and can bring the knowledge and strength she learns to the River Murray team to add great strength in the attack line.
Emily Paech (Mannum): Emily moved into seniors this year after many years as a regular in country champs on a junior level. Wing attack was where Emily found her feet at Woodside. Not only feeding with precision into her goalies but applying the strong defensive pressure needed when the ball was against her team.
Shaylelan Paech (Tailem Bend): Unfortunately Shaylelan was a last minute cancellation to the Woodside carnival due to an injury sustained on court in her Tailem Bend game on the Saturday. She rested up and joined her side in Adelaide to add to not only the defensive end of her team but can also be thrown in at goal attack if needed.
Kate Treloar (Meningie): Kate adds great body strength to this team. Her height and ability to hold her player and her space in the ring whether she is keeper or shooter, is an absolute asset to her side. Kate is showing strong leadership qualities at a young age. Perhaps a coach in the making.
Jemma Woolard (Mannum): As player/coach/captain of this senior side. Jemma shows her maturity and netball knowledge both on and off the court. As the most versatile player in the side, Jemma would prefer to be in the centre court or defending in the goal ring, but playing/coaching in a team that is short on goalies, she can also be thrown in goals to mix things up.
Team manager was Andrea Wegener