A bump in the Road gives Tongala unexpected Blues

August 08, 2017

TONGALA A grade went from incredible highs to a disappointing low on Saturday in the Murray Netball League.

The Blues went down by five goals to Congupna at Congupna in what should’ve been a win to move them back in the top two on the ladder.

Instead the game has seen Congupna into the top six — two points above Finley in seventh.

The Blues’ coach Alicia White said they were probably due for a loss.

Leading into the game they had taken down a formerly undefeated Moama by two goals and recorded a comfortable win over Cobram despite having a depleted list.

But the Road got the better of them at the weekend as they went into the game again undermanned.

Tongala was again left with six A grade players and had to top up the side with juniors.

Congupna’s six wins this year was still a long way behind the top five — Echuca United on 11 wins in fifth — and meant it should’ve been an easy four points for the Blues.

But they didn’t capitalise on their opportunities and failed to do the one percenters the coach had come to expect of her team.

‘‘Congupna was a good side and didn’t give us many opportunities for turnovers,’’ she said.

‘‘They’re a bit of a dark horse at home and you could tell they were playing for finals.

‘‘We made a lot of silly mistakes like throwing into hands, not towing the line and only having one person leading to the ball.’’

Congupna was careful with its passing to ensure it kept possession during the game and made the most of its defensive rebounds to give its goalers more scoring opportunities.

By quarter time the Road had built a comfortable lead and Tongala’s slow start was again a major problem in its game.

The Blues got a roll on towards the end of the third quarter to draw the margin back to five goals, but a few goals didn’t drop late in the term and Congupna was able to capitalise.

The mid-court and goal shooters combined beautifully to score off every opportunity.

‘‘We had a bad first quarter and then couldn’t get ourselves back into the game,’’ White said.

‘‘Everyone was flat and although we made a few positional changes we didn’t have the bench to make any real difference to the game.

‘‘We had a disorganised day and didn’t have the numbers we needed.

‘‘It was just one of those days where nothing went right.’’

Tracey Hughes and Amy Hammond who had been brilliant in recent weeks for Tongala were far from their best performances.

The Blues eventually went down 40-45 and looked forward to the bye this week to regroup and go again against Finley in round 17.

They remained in third behind Numurkah and Moama with two rounds left to play, but could possibly regain second with Numurkah facing two tough games against Deniliquin and Echuca United.

‘‘We’re happy to finish third, which is probably where we’ll end up,’’ White said.

‘‘If Numurkah drops one we have a chance to move up, but we will have to make the most of these last two games for percentage.

‘‘We’ll train through the week and hopefully that’ll give us better preparation for after the bye.’’

The team will now focus on getting the basics right after those areas hurt it on Saturday.

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