Sport

Untested Lions not disgraced in opening loss

by
April 19, 2017

Seymour defender Meg Grabac just gets her fingertips to the ball before her opponent.

New Lions shooter Bec Beaton tussles for possession in the air.

Courtney Aldous weighs up her options in the centre.

Goal-keeper Meg Grabac attempts to stop a Rochester pass in to the ring.

Seymour’s A-grade side was beaten, but far from disgraced, in its opening match of the season against Rochester.

The Lions slipped behind by exactly two goals each quarter to eventually go down by eight goals in a fast-paced encounter.

The transformed Lions A-grade side may take a while to find its rhythm, with a host of fresh faces joining the lone player — Ellie O’Sullivan — who remains from last year’s beaten grand final team.

Georgia Engel, who has stepped straight out of last year’s under-17s into the top tier side, was brilliant in goal defence for four quarters, while her defensive partner in crime Meg Grabac was equally impressive in her first game for the Lions.

Playing coach Laura Carland, who starred at the other end of the court in goal attack, was full of praise for the defensive duo.

‘‘Georgia and Meg played in defence together for the whole game, which was a new combination for the side, and they kept the pressure on their goalers the entire game. They never let up,’’ Carland said.

‘‘Their defensive pressure in the goal ring was really great and we were able to get a lot of intercepts from inside the goal ring.’’

As the old saying goes, you live and you learn, and Carland said there was plenty to learn from the Lions’ opening match.

‘‘Being that it was our first game together, I was very impressed with how the side went,’’ she said.

‘‘Although we didn’t get the win in the end, the girls put up a big fight. We lost by just two goals each quarter, which in reality is one easy turnover each quarter.

‘‘We turned a lot of the ball over ourselves due to poor passes, mainly because we’re still becoming familiar with each other, so that can be easily fixed.

‘‘Overall, I was happy with the girls’ fight to never give up at any stage in the game. They continued to fight for the ball and never let Rochester receive any easy balls.’’

Score: Rochester 53 d Seymour 39

Lower grades

It was a clean sweep to Rochester’s netballers on the day, with Seymour going down in all four matches.

Rochester got the jump on the Lions in the B-grade, racing out to an eight-goal lead at quarter-time and extending that to a 17-goal margin by halftime.

Carland, who is also coaching the Lions’ B-grade side, made changes to the line-up at the main break, which appeared to stem the flow of Tiger goals, but the damage had already been done.

The Lions managed to keep the margin to 19 at three-quarter time, before going down 54-30.

‘‘I tried lots of different combinations so there was lots of changes made at each quarter, which made it hard for the girls to adjust. But they had some really good passages of play throughout the game which was great to see,’’ Carland said.

‘‘They will only keep improving and getting better as the season goes on.’’

Newcomer Marlee Coopman was her side’s best, while defender Mia Feery and goal shooter Mariah Baumann were also outstanding.

B-reserve copped the biggest defeat of the day, going down 54-26. The fresh-faced Lions were no match for the determined Tigers, who extended their lead at every change.

Kira Nelson was impressive for the Lions in the hefty loss, and she received good support from Natalia Morgan and Sophie Gregson.

The under-17 Lions kept up with their opposition until three-quarter time, when they trailed by just five goals, but an onslaught of Tigers’ goals in the final term blew the margin out to 14 goals by game’s end, 53-39.

Bianca Schache played a brilliant game in goals, as did fellow goaler Sophie Locke, while Isabella Pearce was another to stand out.

Coach Ellie O’Sullivan said she was pleased with the side’s first-up effort and was looking forward to seeing her charges get better as the season wore on.

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