Falcons return to the court with a draw

Picture Netball Victoria

Tara Murray

A draw between the City West Falcons and the Geelong Cougars seemed a somewhat fitting first game in the return to Victorian Netball League championship action.

A goal by Jane Cook in the final seconds decided the result.

It was the first time teams have taken to the court in 18 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Falcons coach Marg Lind said she was happy with the 55-55 draw against a side with many former Falcons players.

She said it was pretty surreal to be back out there coaching in match for points.

“It was pretty tricky,” she said.

“We were pretty happy with it as we gave up a nine goal lead at one point.

“Jane Cook sealed the draw, off a one-two pass from a centre pass taken with 10 seconds to go. It was almost a layup.

“A draw was a fitting result to a fantastic game.

“I think there are some good signs moving forward.”

Lind was keen to give all the group a go on court in round one, including Emma Walters and Melissa Oloamanu who have both been promoted into the top side this season.

Lind said everyone played a role in coming away with the two points.

“We kept rotating the defenders as they were rotating the attackers,” she said.

“The attacking end of Maggie [Lind], Maddy [Gray] and Jane [Cook] were good.

“Montana Holmes got put back in wing defence and nullified their wing attacks.

“Mel O [Oloamanu] did a good job when she came on.”

Lind said while she was happy with the first up result, she said it was going to take a few weeks before they had a true idea of where they sit.

She said Geelong was one of the more experienced sides, which had a similar line up to 2019.

“We’ve really reshaped our club,” she said.

“It’ll take a few weeks, as we’ve taken a risk on a young side. We have to keep rewarding the young ones, hopefully it pays off.“

The Falcons’ division 1 and under-19 teams both suffered losses.

Like the top side, Lind tried a number of different combinations.

“In division 1 it blew out at the end,” she said. “When you’re losing you look to rotate everyone.

“The 19s got within one. They are the rarest team we’ve ever had, but one with the most potential.

“We’ve just got two girls left from our 2019 premiership team.

“Something will happen with this group. It might not be this year, but something will happen.”

Of the new under-19 team, Achel Yout, Charli Nicol and Isabelle Marles were the standouts for the side.

Lind said the three had come through the pathways program with Altona Netball Association.

“We’ve put in place a strong transition in place at the club, which is working from 11s and unders through to champ.

“We’re trying to create the pathway.”

This week the Falcons face Peninsula Waves.