Olivia Whitla said the women and the girls fought hard.
Olivia Whitla said the women and the girls fought hard. Paul Braven GLA080616NETBALL

Netball teams show promise despite losses

NETBALL: Both the Gladstone Opens and under-16 teams have finished their campaigns in the Queensland Premier League better for the experience.

The Gladstone team's lost both of their matches against Emerald and Mackay and open's player Olivia Whitla said there were plenty of positives.

"It was a tough weekend for both teams, with some very close loses for both teams,” she said.

"Both divisions had a team pull out which meant we only had two games each for the weekend.

"The 16s had to play both games on Saturday with two hours between each match and Opens with a game Saturday and Sunday morning.”

The Gladstone senior side had 55-54 and 40-38 losses to Emerald and Mackay while the juniors had a 14-7 final quarter to lose by just two goals to Emerald and were well beaten by a strong Mackay.

"Coach Kacie Crawford said stand-out players across both games were Katie Skinner, Abbi Cooper and Keeley Dillion in defence, with Samarah Belton's work-rate through the centre court also exceptional,” Whitla said of the U16s.

Whitla added that the Gladstone Open's showed character in the game against Emerald.

"Coach Kira Niesler believes it was a massive team effort coming back from six down in the third quarter and drawing level in the last 30 seconds,” Whitla said.

"Kira said everyone put all their energy and played a true game of netball that was enjoyable to watch.”

Gladstone's Amy Harte polled two votes in the game against Mackay.

So what is next for the two teams?

"Unfortunately, with neither team finishing on top of the ladder, it is back to the drawing board for both teams for next year,” Whitla said.

"We will look to have teams representing Gladstone next year and hoping to get one step further.

"Premier League gives the girls the opportunity to properly contest a game. Rather than having a carnival style of two short halves, Premier plays four 15-minute quarters. With most girls only playing 10 or 12 minutes at our local association, the 15 minute quarters were quite different.”

Whitla said her own form improved.

"I played goal defence in the first game and moved into wing defence for the second game,” she said.

"Personally my second game was stronger than my first (as with a lot of the girls), and I was able to have more of an impact. It was extremely tough losing that last game.”

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