Victoria have come out firing in the first day of the competition at the Marie Little OAM Shield in Brisbane, after two strong wins against reigning premiers from the last four years, NSW and a strong QLD side.
Following a great deal of preparation in the lead up to the tournament, Victoria continued their impressive form in the first game, bringing immense intensity and a great fighting attitude against a competitive NSW side.
It was a goal-for-goal game against NSW, with Victoria taking a one goal lead at half time, 6-5. Impressive performances from goalers Brooke Baker and Emma Daffy and dynamic duo Kim Larkin and Renay Hall saw a clean attack end with direct drives, space on the court and long-rage shooting.
Rachel Potter and Claire Nugent were pivotal in defence, intercepting wayward balls flying down NSW’s attack end, while providing plenty of long leads throughout the court. Victoria ran away with the win, 13-11.
Victorian head coach, Naomi Linossier said the team really exceeded their expectations this year.
“The first game was probably the best way to start the tournament. The team just went out and played probably the best we’ve ever seen them play as individuals and as a team, which was really really exciting.” Linossier said.
“It’s always a tough challenge coming up a four-time reigning champion so to go out there and challenge them and get the result and the win is even better for us.”
“The girls just worked as a team really well, so if someone tipped the ball there was always someone chasing the ball up and backing them up.
“There was a lot of space out on the court and they just played really steady and they didn’t throw the ball away too much and made sure their defensive pressure was enough to turn the ball over from NSW.”
While game two against Queensland saw a new line-up step out on the court, the girls adapted well to the change. Bianca Lauricella and Grace Dean were speedy in centre, and controlled the ball when delivering it into the goalers with accurate feeds from the circle edge.
In defence, Sky Grace was strong under the ring, jumping for rebounds and keeping her opponent busy, edging her away from the ring. Erin Munckton started off well in the goal circle, utilising her height to tap the ball in with precision and gain any rebounds that fell. In the end, Victoria stretched the lead to 23-6.
“The second game was just as successful. We tried a few different combinations on the court, because it’s always good to have an idea of some different combinations up your sleeve in case something happens in a future game.
“We were up pretty quickly in the first quarter then sustained and built on that lead through the match.”
The Marie Little OAM Shield continues tomorrow, where Victoria will face the Northern Territory, Western Australia, the ACT and South Australia before finals on Monday.