Devils sitting pretty

Anna Lawley. (Ljubica Vrankovic) 409293_05

Tara Murray

Darley doesn’t have much to complain about the Ballarat Netball League competition as it comes to the pointy end of the season.

The Devils sit atop the ladder at the interleague break with one loss for the season, and even that was by one goal.

Devils coach Di McCormack said the bye had come at a good time for them.

“We’re pretty happy,” she said. “The only loss for the season was after the siren.

“The team is gelling really well. The last few games we’ve been one goaler down with Liv or Ella with Victorian Netball League restrictions.”

McCormack said they had been thrilled with how they were performing defensively.

She said Anna Lawley had been a really good pick up and formed a good combination with Matilda Elliot.

They’d made some changes in the midcourt which had also worked both offensively and defensively.

“We’ve run Alisha [McCormack] and Jaimee [Smith] through centre,” he said. “We’ve had Prue [Stanley] in wing attack and those combinations have worked well.

“We’ve also run her in wing defence. Who said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?”

The Devils will be boosted by the full time return of Shannon Blackburn from injury.

She played half a game before Victorian Netball League commitments meant she sat out last round.

McCormack said the inclusion of Blackman would only make them stronger, while Chelsea Mason is back on court as well adding even more depth in the midcourt.

“The girls are all training together and that is helping us gel,” she said.

“I think we are strong but everything resets once you get into finals.”

The Devils keep blooding some young players with Sophia coming up from under-19s and B-grade, and Addy Wright is another who is stepping up.

McCormack said the only downside this season has been injuries to goalers in other grades.

They’ve had to move players around to fill holes while they’ve started looking at the future as well.

“We’ve had the opportunity to develop and bring up some juniors to work with us,” she said. “We’re trying to train them up and we’re looking forward to seeing them next year,”

This week the Devils have a big test, facing reigning premiers North Ballarat,

The Roosters are in the top four.

Elsewhere, Bacchus Marsh hosts Lake Wendouree and Melton is at home to the Sunbury Lions.

Melton South has a bye,