Tailem Bend shines under lights while Imperials continue domination and Ramblers win at home in round 11 of River Murray netball

A grade match reports

Tailem Bend v Mannum

  • By Terry Connolly

Standout performances from Eagle players Mel Edwards and Emily Edwards has lifted the Eagles to a thrilling 53-45 netball win over the Mannum Roos in Tailem Bend on Saturday evening.

The sisters were playing their 200th and 150th games respectively for the Eagles and they put on a netball clinic for the big crowd.

The Roos had the better of a pulsating opening quarter as both sides played wonderful, attacking netball with plenty of skill and flair. The Roos were playing a physical game in an endeavour to disrupt the Eagles steadied focus with physicality.

Playing with a fluency and confidence, the Roos raced to an early six-goal buffer in the first quarter that had the home side rattled and fighting to stay in the game.

Strong offensive work from the Lucinda McKenzie (C) and a high shooting accuracy from Amy Loechel (GS) and Rachel Gassner (GA) had the Eagles on the back foot and struggling to pick up the pace of the game. Despite Mel Edwards (GS) finding her range early on, the Eagles were struggling to take the ball through court to goal with the visitors dominating the play in the midcourt.

Emily Edwards (WA) was playing a great game for the home side, but Sophie Kroehn (GK) Jasmine Woods (GD) were keeping the Eagle attack in check and creating turnover ball.

The score at quarter-time was 12-8 in favour of the visitors.

After turnovers cruelled them in the first quarter against a clinical Roo outfit, the Eagles roared back into the contest in the second quarter. The Roo physicality continued, but the Eagles refused to give into the Roos style of play.

Instead, they were able to put their stamp on the match, with more of a steadied strategy down the court and a focus on smart plays and defence.

The Eagles seemed unperturbed by their four-goal deficit on the scoreboard, stealing a series of intercepts early to take the lead in the game for the first time.

While there were a couple of unfortunate turnovers from the Eagles, the Roos were not always able to capitalise on these opportunities and strong defensive pressure from Matilda Hughes (WD) Kylan Muster (GD) Shayelan Paech helped the Eagles keep control.

Meanwhile, Emily Edwards was a balanced and sharp presence and Charise Bristow (C) played with passion and grit across the court, leading to some magnificent turnovers that benefited the Eagles.

In the circle, Mel Edwards and Georgia Exton (GA) kept their cool under physical play from the Roos defence and were able to ensure the Eagles went in to the main break with a lead of two goals.

The home side kept that momentum going at the start of the third quarter with early turnovers allowing them to register the first two goals of the period and extend their lead to boot.

Their midcourt of Emily Edwards and Bristow had upped the intensity while in attack Exton was growing into her role alongside Mel Edwards. The Eagles may have been in control, but the Roos weren’t phased, and they traded goals with the Eagles before Loechel reduced the margin to two midway through the quarter.

The rest of the period went goal for goal before an Emily Edwards brilliant intercept allowed the visitors go three up with one quarter of play remaining.

An Eagle intercept set up Mel Edwards for the first score of the fourth quarter and before long the margin was six, but there was plenty of life in the Roos. A brilliant McKenzie intercept, followed by another by Rathjen, gave Loechel and Gassner valuable possession and with 10 minutes to play it was a four-goal game.

But the comeback was short-lived.

The visitors were guilty of turning possession over through a combination of forced and unforced errors, and with the Eagles midcourt finding their targets in Mel Edwards and Exton the home side were able to build an eight-goal lead five minutes from the final bell.

Mistakes and turnover ball were becoming more common and the resultant slowing of the pace played into the hands of the Eagles who were patiently building and punishing Roo errors.

Emily Edwards was playing a blinder and she showed sparks of her defensive brilliance with a wonderful intercept, which led to Mel Edwards scoring from range.

A fantastic battle continued to rage between the Eagles defence and the Roo attack with Paech frequently showing her class to take intercepts and rebounds.

With midcourt livewires Emily Edwards and Bristow fuelling the Eagles rapid ball movement, Mel Edwards continued to shoot the lights out to hand her side the momentum and the game. The home side would eventually run out winners 53 – 45.

Speaking post-match, Eagles Coach Trudy Connolly said she was immensely proud of her special group of players who never gave in, even when it looked like the game would go the Roos way.

“It wasn’t consistent across the quarters, but to the girls credit they had that belief and trust in each other to get the job done,” she said.  “We made some costly errors tonight, but we were able to regroup every time and I think that was key to the win,” she said.

Best players for the Eagles were Emily Edwards, she was the stand out providing some magical moments, Mel Edwards never missed a goal when it counted, and Exton was ever so reliable.

Best players for the Roos were goal shooter Loechel who had an early impact and continually tested the defence of the Eagles, Gassner was reliable and McKenzie, battled admirably.

Ramblers v Jervois

In perfect conditions compared to last week Ramblers faced a much improved Jervois team who had pushed Mypolonga in their previous outing.

The first three quarters were high quality, intensely contested netball.

Ramblers took the first centre with Nicole Simon GS very active early but Jervois were quick to respond through Mikayla Mills GA.

The Rambler defenders in Jess Crocker and Jess Katae were working hard to gain turnovers while the Jervois defence in Charly Heim and Kylie Matthewson were good, putting pressure on the ball entering the circle.

Ramblers took a narrow lead 15-10 into the first break.

The second was closely contested with Ramblers only outscoring Jervois by three.

Catherine Zarantonello was using her long split, base line drives to advantage and finishing well.

Kenisha Seidel found some rare space combining with Nikki Dougall with some pinpoint accurate passing.

Lucinda Howell provided some good defensive pressure in the Rambler attack line along with her drive in attack.

Ramblers led 29-21.

Both teams had remained unchanged for the first half but Jervois now made multiple changes bringing Emily Hill into goals and Ramblers bought on Jasmine Trevorrow into WA.

Dougall was active through the mid court with deflections going to Ramblers advantage and along with Trevorrow threw some beautiful passes into their goalies.

Hill and Zarantonello were combining well with Tessa Thurston - a real driving force for Jervois at WA.

Jervois seemed to close the gap but Ramblers still increased their lead slightly 42-30.

Jervois again made changes bringing Brianna Burt into goals who shot some nice long goals.

Georgia O’Neil WD took some lovely intercepts and provided strong drive out of defence for Ramblers.

Unfortunately both teams started to make some errors.

Ramblers missed a few goals but continued to work hard and ran out winners 58-38.

Best players: Ramblers – Jess Crocker and Nikki Dougall; Jervois – Catherine Zarantonello and Tessa Thurston.

Imperials v Mypolonga

In what promised to be an exciting clash, the game between Mypolonga and Imperials did not disappoint.

The game was physical and fast paced, however ladder leaders Imperials were able to stamp their dominance on the game with a big final margin.

Mypolonga started the game with the centre pass, and scored through GS Lexi Blight.

They went on to score the first three goals, with strong, fast play. Imperials settled half way through the quarter, with both teams going goal for goal, Imperials up 14-13 at the end of the first.

Mypolonga made positional changes for the second, and the quarter started with both sides making plenty of turnovers, however Imperials were the only team to convert these into goals.

The defensive unit for Imperials worked tirelessly and this allowed Imperials to extend their lead 31-24.

The third quarter saw changes to both sides. Casey Gregory (GA) and Sheridan O’Brien (GD) continued to have a great tussle throughout the 3rd and Olivia Bolt ran strong all game through the centre for Imperials.

Crystal Williams (GK) took the court in the third, and was impressive with many clean intercepts taken. Strong work into the ring for Imperials allowed another increase in the lead, Imperials up 47-30.

The fourth quarter saw Imperials come out firing, scoring the first 11 goals, with Mypolonga only scoring their first goal halfway through the quarter.

Sheridan O’Brien and Courtney Blacker worked hard to keep Mypo in the game, however Imperials were too strong taking out the game by 28 goals, final score Imps 67 to Mypo 39.

Best players: Imperials – Jenna Daniels, Olivia Bolt; Mypolonga - Lexi Blight, Sheridan O’Brien