THREE young Murray Bombers had their A grade debut on Saturday in the Goulburn Valley League.
B grade’s Lucy Eishold and under 17 players Claudia Mawson and Bridget Byrne stepped up to take the court for Echuca Netball Club A grade against Rochester.
Coach Casey Frame said it was pleasing to show the upcoming talent at Echuca with all girls, each under 18 years old, expected to be pushing for A grade next year.
A strong start meant they could afford to bring on some new faces in the must win game at Victoria Park; the home side eventually coming away with the four points and a good percentage boost, 59-33.
Several intercepts and solid defensive pressure from Kloe Miechel (GK) and Eve Gregor (GD) gave the Murray Bombers plenty of the ball in the first quarter.
They scored 19 goals to five in the opening term, Abby Poulton delivering a crucial role as centre in the absence of Erin Hill.
Poulton passed the ball stunningly into goal shooters Lisa Drysdale and Olivia Hannon who finished off accurately under the post.
Drysdale scored the bulk of the goals to finish the term with 16.
‘‘We spoke a lot about intensity before the game and not taking our foot off the peddle,’’ Frame said.
‘‘We wanted to bring a consistent approach to the game.
‘‘It was the one percenters we did well, backing each other up and our attackers putting a lot of pressure over the ball which allowed our defenders to get good tips and intercepts down the court.
‘‘No one played a perfect game, but they each played their role.’’
The Tigers posed a threat early in the second quarter, but a few key turnovers by Dearnah Kent in wing defence had the home side regain control.
Meg Rohde showed her versatility in defence and attack by being a reliable option down the court as wing attack.
Echuca had a commanding lead by half-time, 34-9, and looked to be well in control of the game.
Byrne was brought on into goal defence and held her own against an experienced Tigers goaling line-up in Sahra Brooks and Morgan Dingwall.
Poor passes in attack gave the Tigers more opportunities in the third, recording 13 goals to 10 to trail by 22 at the final change.
‘‘We probably weren’t treasuring the ball as much in attack as we had at the start of the game,’’ Frame said.
‘‘The girls got a bit sloppy and probably lapsed a bit in concentration.
‘‘Bridget did great to come on into defence with Kloe as the two had hardly trained together before the game.’’
Rochester’s Brielle O’Meara provided fresh legs in the second half, coming on at centre midway through the third term.
But the Murray Bombers had other players up their sleeves with Mawson and Eishold taking the court in the final quarter in centre and wing defence.
They both provided plenty of attacking options and defensive pressure.
The game was evenly contested in the fourth, the Murray Bombers taking the term 15-11 to lead by 26 goals at the final whistle.
Echuca will have an easy contest this weekend against Mansfield, but can’t afford another drop in concentration if they’re to get enough percentage to finish in the top six on the ladder.
‘‘It’s sad that it’ll come down to other teams’ results in this last round,’’ Frame said.
‘‘We need Shepparton Swans and Euroa to both lose this weekend if we’re to make finals.
‘‘It’s this point in the year more so than ever when those few close losses earlier in the year can really hurt.’’