COBDEN open netball coach Mel Starr says her side is using “these tough games” in the middle of the year to better themselves following their win over Warrnambool on Saturday.
The Bombers mentor said her players were gaining a greater understanding of their potential and limitations after being challenged on the court for the fourth week in succession.
“It’s been great to have these tough games around the middle stages of the year so we can look at what we need to work on and improve,” she said.
“Each team brings different challenges each week, different teams have different styles and so forth but it’s great we are able to find out more about ourselves and then pull from our arsenal and pull together wins.”
The Bombers had to endure several nervy moments in the latter stages of their contest with the Blues, withstanding a late charge after leading by seven at the final change to grind out a 44-40 victory.
Starr was pleased with her side’s effort to hold on to record its 10th win of the year, but had plenty of praise for a “very skilful” Blues outfit.
“I think Warrnambool are going to be one of the (better) teams of the competition,” she said.
“They’ve got great depth and strong players and I think last time they had a few missing so it was great to get a win against them with their full side in.”
The victory may come at a cost for the Bombers with Remeny McCann to be sidelined after sustaining an ankle injury in the second half, while mid-courter Amy Hammond also missed part of the final quarter.
While Starr was disappointed to lose two of her key players, she was pleased her side was able overcome the dilemma and hold on for victory.
“We lost Rem in the third quarter and then we lost Amy Hammond in the last quarter so Sophie Blain came on for the second half of the last quarter,” she said.
“The girls did really well to overcome that and plugged away to get the victory, you want a team that is going to continue (with the job at hand) despite unexpected challenges occurring.
“It’s something the team has worked on, just their ability to go down by a couple of goals but still find a way to win.”
The Bombers are now set to face perennial finalist North Warrnambool, with the two sides to renew hostilities for the second time this season on Saturday.
The pair played out as close encounter in round two with the Bombers getting up by six goals and while Starr is confident her side can win again, she said they will have to do so without McCann and Jaymie Finch (work commitments).
“We’ll be going into this weekend a little bit undermanned but it’s going to be a great challenge for the girls,” she said.
“Both teams move the ball really quickly and I would say we have similar game styles so it should be a really good game.”
In other netball news, six Bombers represented the Hampden league at the Netball Victoria Association Championships in Frankston on Sunday.
Nadine McNamara, Jess Wheadon, Emily Finch, Bec Dendle, Alicia Blain and Amy Hammond helped the league to the semi-finals under Starr’s tutelage, eventually falling to Goulburn Valley.
Starr said the side enjoyed a “brilliant day” despite the disappointing finish.
“The girls didn’t lose a game, we did draw two but we did win six of our eight pool matches,” she said.
“It was unfortunate we couldn’t hold on in the final (semi) but fatigue played a part in that, it’s a very long and physical day so I think that impacted the girls.”
The league also sent under 17, 15 and 13 sides to the championships, with the 17s and 15s both reaching the preliminary finals, while the 13s were knocked out after the pool games.