Claws deep into Whitsunday

THE Capricorn Claws have hit the boards running, winning their first major trial match convincingly over Whitsunday.

The luckless Mackay team was out of the contest at Emmaus College from the first quarter, with the Claws too quick, too fit, and far too good for the visitors.

Not helping the Mackay cause was a lack of numbers, with just seven players suited up.

While the Claws enjoyed the advantage of having fresh players ready to join the action, it also led to the team having periods of the game where it was slightly disjointed.

In the end the Claws had a decisive 31-goal win, taking the game 54-23.

While the Claws will take plenty from the game as they prepare for the start of the State League competition in May, so can Whitsunday, with its players learning the level they must reach to be competitive and also getting some positives out of a strong showing during the third quarter.

“We are pretty happy to have a hit-out,” Claws coach Barbara Ahmat said.

During the first two quarters the Claws were awesome, restricting the Mackay team to just five goals. Every time there was a mid-court contest for the ball it was a Claws player who reacted first, forcing Whitsunday to turn over possession.

Ahmat believes the strength and conditioning program the Claws players have undergone has not merely improved their fitness but given them the sharpness on court to make crucial plays.

Having trained with the academy players on Saturday, the Claws players turned around for yesterday's noon start.

“We were well and truly warmed up,” Ahmat joked.

The coach was happy with all her players but gave Kira-Lee Leo a bit of special praise for her work in the attacking circle.

“It is good to have Kira-Lee back,” she said.

While the work in mid-court was good, Ahmat was especially pleased with the way the Claws defended.

“All our defenders did a marvellous job,” she said.

The training and the game performance has earned the Claws players a small break before they get back into full training for the first round of the State League on May 7, when they face Whitsunday at Mackay.

Fans will have to wait until June 18 for the Claws' first home match.

The Claws have named their 2011 leadership group, with Carmen Anderson captain and defenders Danielle Wingard and Keanna Hopkins co-captains.

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