Colts stand out as comp looms
IT'S the final grading round at Jardine Park tonight and while it throws up some good contests, players and coaches will be thinking more about the start of the new season.
The grading suggests a tight competition with only Brothers Crimson and Colts apparently standing out from the pack.
Certainly Crimson appear to have an ominous look about their line-up and have hardly been tested during the lead-up to the season.
Colts too have recruited well and will be hoping to stay injury free in order to mount a challenge to Crimson, the 2011 champion.
Certainly there are other teams in the competition which could cause a surprise but the question over those teams is whether they have the depth to sustain a lengthy challenge over a full season.
One coach who knows what the season is likely to bring is Kathy Hitchcock.
Once again she is with Angels Titans and while not claiming her team is about to dominate, she does believe the Titans will have a better year than in 2011 when they finished at the bottom of the ladder.
"We are still a development team," she said.
"We'll be somewhere in the middle (table)."
The team has suffered mixed fortunes in the lead-up to the season with three big player gains countered by a major loss of a key performer.
The recent shock loss of Tash Laney was a real blow for the Titans.
"Last year she was our most valuable player," Hitchcock said.
"This year she hasn't hit her straps."
There turned out to be a good reason for Laney being a bit sluggish and a medical check has resulted in her being sidelined.
Defensively, the Titans have been strengthened by the return of Diana Pettit who will be back in her position at goal keep.
Also returning to the court for the Titans is Renee Perryman.
"She is back after having a couple of seasons off," Hitchcock said.
"She is young and enthusiastic but at the moment she is not a part of the team."
Hitchcock explained that while Perryman was playing well in the grading rounds, she was performing as an individual rather than as part of the unit.
Another fitting into that category was wing defence player Kiara Rissman who has been brought into the Titans line-up from the club's A-Reserves.
"She is another who is a bit of a lone wolf at the moment," the coach said.
It is still early days for these players and Hitchcock is certain they have the capability to become integral parts of the Angels outfit.
However, the coach said there were some difficulties she was working through with her players.
For training she called in a personal trainer to challenge the players.
"They are not lazy but they are comfortable," she said.
This comfort zone was stopping skilled players from reaching their full potential as they were not getting their bodies into position where they would be more effective.
"Some of our players have to step up if they want to play in A grade," she said.
While Hitchcock is trying to help the players be the very best they can, she hasn't lost track of the reasons why the girls want to play netball.
"If nothing else we are realistic. We play because we love the game," she said.
"They are a great lot but they haven't got the A-grade thing through their heads yet."
GRADING GAMES ROUND THREE
6:15pm: Crt4: Frenchville Brumbies v RGS Magic, Crt5: Brothers Fuchsia v Brothers Crimson
6:55pm: Crt4: Angels Titans v Frenchville Brumbies, Crt5: Frenchville Mustangs v Colts Divas
7:35pm: Crt3: Brothers Fuchsia v Bluebirds Hawks, Crt4: Angels Titans v Colts Divas, Crt5: Brothers Crimson v Cap Coast Marlins
8:15pm: Crt4: Frenchville Mustangs v RGS Magic, Crt5: Cap Coast Marlins v Bluebirds Hawks