Claws player Danielle Wingard is savouring the excitement of representative netball.
Claws player Danielle Wingard is savouring the excitement of representative netball. Chris Ison

Wingard puts in the yards

DEFENDERS are not known for their easygoing temperament in any sport and Claws star Danielle Wingard is no different when she is on court.

Last week when the going got tough there was no way Wingard was about to back down, especially in the physical contest against the Lions.

“I think we gave as good as we got,” she beamed.

“I like it when it is physical.”

The willowy goal-keep kept the pressure on the opposition shooters, often forcing them to shoot from further away than they might have wanted.

This year Wingard is the vice-captain of the Claws team, which in itself is quite an achievement as the mother of three didn't even trial for the Claws last year, as she was returning to the sport after the birth of her youngest child, and played most of her netball in the reserve grade.

However, she loves netball and when not involved playing or training, coaches a Bluebirds team in which her eldest daughter, nine-year-old Taylah, is shooter.

Now Wingard is a cornerstone of the Claws team and loving the challenge of representative netball.

“The standard is extremely high. Last year I don't think I was ready for it,” she said.

This year the team has again reached the finals and Wingard enjoys her role as vice-captain.

“I pretty much act as a back-up for Carmen (Anderson, the captain),” she said.

Wingard said it was her duty to the team to take any problems back to coach Barbara Ahmat so concerns did not escalate.

The vice-captain admits the loss of key players from last year's Claws team made it difficult at the start of the campaign, but the squad has come through well.

Tonight the Claws team is set to face a Suncoast Lynx team that defeated them early in the program by a single goal.

“It's a big game. We can't go in thinking about the last time we played,” she said.

Coach Ahmat could not agree more with her most difficult task for this match being who to leave out of the squad for such a big game. Pearl Hood has been playing brilliantly in club netball, but she travels to Brisbane as a replacement player.

“Pearl is one of the biggest improvers of the season,” Ahmat said. “She didn't get to play in the final round that would have helped if she had.”

Ahmat wants her players to enjoy the finals as collectively they have worked hard at the regular Claws training sessions, their club commitments and the extra work of strength and conditioning.

Should the Claws win tonight then it is back to Brisbane next weekend for the next round of the finals with the grand final scheduled for August 20.

 

THE CLAWS

The Rockhampton Leagues Club-sponsored Capricorn Claws squad of 12 players for tonight’s State League knockout match against Suncoast Lynx.

Danielle Wingard, Keanna Hopkins, Zoe Seibold, Shanita Smith, Toni Robson, Lizzy Egerton, Carmen Anderson, Jacinta James, Poppy Larson, Kira-lee Leo. Replacement players: Sam Briggs, Pearl Hood, Anna Young, Kate Kearney.



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