Ipswich Flyers netballer Emilie McInally sets up another goalscoring opportunity.
Ipswich Flyers netballer Emilie McInally sets up another goalscoring opportunity.

Emilie flies high as Sapphires warm up for vital awards

IN her 16th year as an Ipswich Flyers representative, Emilie McInally has lost little of her motivation to succeed.

Putting her team first is what drives the long-term leader to meet the Queensland Premier League demands and savour the satisfactions.

"The physical nature of the game can be tough,'' the goal attack said.

"But the most satisfying part of playing in the QPL is being in a successful team year after year.''

Playing a pivotal role in last year's SEQ Cup grand final triumph proved that McInally still has what it takes to dominate on court.

In the latest game at the Queensland State Netball Centre, McInally produced another trademark performance as the Flyers overpowered Carina 47-20.

TAKING CHARGE: Flyers, Sapphires fire up with convincing victories

KEY CHANGES: Ipswich teams adjust to COVID precautions

Ipswich Flyers netballer Tahlia Vandenberg delivered another powerhouse defensive display in her team’s big win over Carina.
Ipswich Flyers netballer Tahlia Vandenberg delivered another powerhouse defensive display in her team’s big win over Carina.

"Seeing as it was only our second game together I was happy with how well the team is gelling together,'' she said.

"We really started to pull away in the third quarter but are still trying different combinations and seeing what works.''

McInally praised teammates Erin Ellis and Tahlia Vandenberg for terrific defensive efforts.

She said newcomer Gabby Kropp also had a fine game, moving from wing attack into goal defence.

The ever-reliable netballer appreciates the help she receives in the Flyers leadership group.

"Tara (Bramwell) is back as a member of the leadership team and Erin has joined as the defensive leader,'' she said.

"I think we are all the right amounts of experience and enthusiasm.''

Flyers netballer Gabby Kropp impressed against Carina.
Flyers netballer Gabby Kropp impressed against Carina.

As for her important on-court role, McInally enjoys leading in the attack shooting end with a different younger group of netballers.

"So far we are working well together and it has had a comfortable settled feeling in the circle,'' she said.

"It's certainly great to see some younger talent coming through and performing well.''

As the season finally clicks up a gear, McInally reflected on her time during the COVID shutdown when she normally would be playing.

"My office worked from home,'' she said, grateful for the extra efforts of coach Nicole Grant.

"Nicole was great at keeping us motivated.

"We were responsible for our own fitness during this time and Nicole would create fun programs for us to do each week.''

With the defending premiers having plenty of depth, McInally said the main hope was working for another shot at the title, without any further coronavirus issues.

"Other than that I think finals are definitely achievable,'' she said.

PRE-SEASON FOCUS: Guarding against injury key goal for champions

Thursday night opponent QUT provide a major early test.

"They have a similar score margin to ours and from what we've seen they are the taller team,'' McInally said. "But height isn't everything so we will be working hard on strategies at training to overcome this.''

Sapphires just warming up

Before the Flyers match this week, the Goodna Sapphires will also chase their third SEQ Cup win a row.

However, Sapphires captain Robyn Walsh was mindful of some challenges after Goodna's 58-27 win over Redcliffe.

"Being such a late game, we were a bit slow to start,'' she said.

"We were only up by three at the first quarter. It was by far not a good performance.

"The game was littered with unforced errors on our behalf. Bad passing, miscommunication, timing etc.

"Fortunately we were able to get a lot of turnover in the defence end, which allowed us more opportunity to score.''

Walsh was part of the defensive formation also including Tayla Collier, Rebecca Asquith and Lisa Tucker.

She acknowledged last week's game provided some extra challenges.

"It was evident that the cooler weather and late games are not a good combination for the Sapphires,'' she said.

"We will have to make sure moving forward that we warm up well and are ready to go when the whistle blows, as against some of the stronger teams we will not have the luxury of being able to pull the score back.''

The Sapphires play Underwood in the more friendly 6.30pm timeslot on Thursday night.

The Goodna team also played a key role promoting the latest City of Ipswich Sports awards.

Walsh, Sarah Cullen-Reid and Asquith were part of a social media campaign inviting nominations for the prestigious annual awards.

"We let the community know that are still going ahead even though COVID caused a few changes,'' Walsh said.

"Basically saying that we won team of the year a couple of years ago, a bit about how we feel as a team and asking coaches, parents and associations to nominate a team or an individual.''

A representative netballer's work is never done.

GAME DAY

QPL SEQ Cup Thursday (at Queensland State Netball Centre)

6.30pm: Goodna Sapphires v Underwood

9.10pm: Ipswich Flyers v QUT



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