Panthers unfinished business

Melissa Oloamanu has joined Melton South this season. (Netball Victoria)

Tara Murray

There’s a sense of unfinished business for Melton South in the Ballarat Netball League.

After being on track to play finals last season before the COVID-19 pandemic brought the season to an early end, the Panthers are keen to have another crack this season.

Coach Anna Edmonds said finals were definitely the aim this season.

“We have unfinished business from last year,” she said.

“I don’t think the A-grade side has played finals before. We want to play finals and we want to go all the way.”

The Panthers have won their first two matches. The Panthers A-grade side has had two early byes, including this Saturday, with Melton and the Sunbury Lions not fielding sides.

Edmonds said they were happy with how they had started the season.

“Our first game was against Ballarat and it was tough, but we were able to blow out the cobwebs,” she said.

“Then we had another tough game against Darley. We were just happy to finally get some court time.”

Edmonds said while it wasn’t ideal not being able to play in every round, the group was still playing plenty of netball elsewhere.

The Panthers have again gone with a young line up. Edmonds said seeing the young talent on court was really exciting.

“We are still a young side,” she said. “The oldest is 24 and the youngest is 17.

“It’s awesome. I’ve seen a lot of them from their early days of development and to see them come through the pathways is pretty cool.”

Victorian Netball League midcourter Soli Ropati continues to be one of the keys for the Panthers.

Her City West Falcons teammate Melissa Oloamanu has also joined the Panthers this season. Oloamanu has gone through the Victorian pathway system and is one of the best young defenders in the state.

Edmonds said two were leading the way for the side.

“It’s awesome to have their skill out on the court, but you also need to have the players around that.

“They fit in nicely with the girls in the A-grade squad.”

Edmonds said there other sides had started the season with mixed results, but expected several teams to be in finals contention.

The Panthers next week face East Point.