The Victorian Fury has finished the 2019 Deakin University Australian Netball League (ANL) season as minor premiers, after defeating Queensland Fusion in both games of Round 7 (58-52 and 59-49).
A definite spot in finals and games against the seventh placed team wasn’t going to see Fury come into the final round lightly, as there was still plenty to learn and confidence to build.
Both games against Fusion saw an intense, physical battle that challenged Fury, but the ability to adapt and control the play were factors that helped Fury to their two wins.
Mid-courter, Elli Leydin was pleased with the entire team’s effort to take control of the games from the first whistle.
“We started off strong on both days with a good lead within minutes, and that really set us up for the games,” said Leydin.
“We had a lot of changes to our line-up each day but to have fresh legs out there and the way we all adapted to the changes was great for all of us, and I’m really happy with the way we took that on and kept pushing for the win.
“A focus for the midcourt was on our connections and ball movement, and thanks to the efforts of our defensive end, we were able to put that into practice down the court.
“After the first game, we thought that we were a bit flat and not as vocal as normal, so we really wanted to ramp up that support for each other, and it helped a lot not only for our confidence but pushing out to take a bigger win.”
With a week break before the finals weekend at the State Netball and Hockey Centre in Parkville, Leydin said that while it will be the team of 12 that takes to the court, it will also be the responsibility of the individual players to ensure their preparation is enough to take them all the way.
“The next two weeks are going to be about keeping that focus and momentum even though there’s the break.
“We need to stay on top of recovery, fuelling our bodies right and doing extra things if that’s what we need to do to make sure we’re ready and focused for finals weekend.”
Leydin, who was originally selected as a training partner for Fury, was elevated to the team after multiple injuries to the team’s mid-court players. In her 13 games, Leydin has played her role and impressed on court, a promising sign for the 19-year old who has taken advantage of the opportunity.
“Fury has been a big step up from the state teams and VNL in terms of the pace of the game, but that’s something I’ve had to adapt to and learn from with things like protecting myself and using my speed and strengths to my advantage.
“You have to take every opportunity that you get and I’m so glad I was given just a taste of this level. It’s been a great experience for me and to have this team around me, supporting me, has been so nice.”