Bluebirds Shanita Smith (left) was instrumental in her side's semi-final win on Wednesday night.
Bluebirds Shanita Smith (left) was instrumental in her side's semi-final win on Wednesday night. Sharyn O'Neill

Marlins swamped

CAPRICORN Coast Marlins’ dream season is over.  

On Wednesday the Marlins were swamped by Bluebirds’ powerful second-half performance, losing by 50-30. 

“I think we were only up by four at half-time,” Bluebirds coach Barb Ahmat said. “The game plan was to put our foot down in the third quarter.” 

Ahmat raised a few eyebrows by electing to start without rising star Shanita Smith on court, starting with Kelsey Hitchman at wing defence instead.

The ploy worked well with Hitchman performing the task according the script.

However, Smith’s introduction was like realising a ball of energy as she made a huge contribution and some telling intercepts.

Other little changes were successfully introduced including Poppy Larson and Kate Kearney exchanging roles in the shooter’s circle with Bluebirds losing nothing from this tactic.

Ahmat said Bluebirds had worked on one important improvement to ensure victory.

“We said we had to cut down on our error count,” she said.

The coach said she was delighted her players had learned important lessons during the regular season.

“Last time we played Cap Coast we went down and that was a big wake-up call,” she said.

A surprise for Ahmat was not beating the Marlins but the goal margins in both semi-finals, which were far greater than expected after tight games during the regular season.

Before the match Ahmat had picked out Marlins shooter Kira-Lee Leo as the main player to watch. 

However, the defensive duo of Danielle Wingard and Mikaela King did the job. 

“Her (Wingard) and “Chop” (King) owned the rebounds,” Ahmat said.

Although Marlins were well beaten Ahmat said none of the girls from the Coast performed badly. 

Now Ahmat’s concentration is on Wednesday’s match with Colts. “You will probably see some combination changes,” she said.

“We have a number to call on, but we are not letting anything out of the bad at this stage.”

A-grade Netball Semi-finals

  • Brothers Crimson 54 def Colts 37
  • Bluebirds Hawks 50 def Cap Coast Marlins 30


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