City's top netballers maintain cool approach
NETBALL: Fresh from volunteering or coaching at the recent State Age Championships, the Ipswich Flyers are bracing for a late night clash as they continue their South East Queensland Cup campaign.
Captain Emilie McInally said her team would make sure they warmed up properly for Thursday's 9.10pm game against MDNA at the State Netball Centre.
"It hasn't phased us much yet,'' McInally said of the cooler weather and unusually late match.
"We train and play indoors so if it was outside it might be different.
"We have played at this timeslot before and although it's late I have found it doesn't have much of an effect.
"After a good warm up and team talk you are generally wired and ready for the game.''
The Flyers players were involved in the massive four-day State Age Championships, which attracted more than 250 teams from 44 centres. The carnival was successfully hosted by Ipswich at Limestone Park.
"All of us volunteered and Melissa (Beutel) and Selena (Hirsch) coached junior teams,'' McInally said.
"Everyone mentioned how great it was and so well organised.
"It's definitely something I think the association should be proud of.
"There were some very tired but happy volunteers at the end of it all.''
After the junior championships, the Flyers and SE Queensland Cup neighbours Goodna continued their impressive progress.
The second-placed Flyers beat Cornubia Park 62-40 with the third-placed Sapphires remaining unbeaten with a 55-34 victory over RNA.
"We had a slow start against Cornubia, which was probably due to no game the week before and we haven't played a club game on Saturday for the last three weekends,'' McInally said. "But we pulled together in the second quarter.''
The Sapphires received a boost on their return with captain Robyn Walsh back in action after rehabilitation following surgery on her left knee.
"I was cleared by my physio to play and I just had to make sure I was mentally tough and just play my normal game,'' Walsh said.
"I played three out of the four quarters and was happy with my performance. It gave me the confidence I needed after an eight-week break from the game.
"I will continue with rehab before and after the game as prevention, but I pulled up better than expected after the game, so this is pleasing going forward.''
The Australian indoor representative player said her team was also coping well despite the cooler conditions.
"The weather is not affecting us too much,'' she said. "We just ensure that we warm up just that little bit more to prevent any injuries.''
Walsh said the Sapphires players enjoyed a two-week break due to a bye and the State Age Championships.
Like the Flyers, some Sapphires regulars volunteered over the four days.
"It was great to see so many girls playing on the weekend and from all reports it was run really well,'' Walsh said.
As for her team's latest victory, Walsh said it was a pleasing result.
"We have had difficulty in the past with RNA, only beating them by one last year in the round,'' Walsh said.
"We had a game plan to start strong and not get into a chase position. We were able to execute this and come away with a comfortable win.''
Goodna's 21 point win was despite having four players away.
"The team as a whole played well and the defence end was able to get a lot of turnover and the shooters were able to score off these,'' the captain said.
The Sapphires meet Redcliffe on Thursday night.
"This game will allow us to try different combinations and improve on our current strategies to be ready for finals,'' Walsh said.
For the Flyers, McInally said Thursday's game against MDNA was one the Ipswich players were wary of.
"Looking at the draw they've had a few wins and losses so we won't be taking them lightly either,'' she said.
Kerri Richardson returns to the Flyers line-up tonight after being away for school holidays.
McInally was encouraged seeing goalkeeper Beutel play goal defence for half a game and adjusting well against Cornubia Park.
Macey McColm also played a half as goal attack and worked well.
The Flyers are looking to keep their top two spot.
Queensland Premier League SE Qld Cup Rd 8 Thursday: 7.50pm - Goodna Sapphires v Redcliffe. 9.10pm: Ipswich Flyers v MDNA at State Netball Centre.
Rd 7 results: Ipswich Flyers def Cornubia Park 62-40, Goodna Sapphires def RNA 55-34.