RDNL falls short against experienced team

RDNL interleague side (Supplied)

Tara Murray

The Riddell District Netball League’s next generation were on show against the Southern Netball League on Saturday.

Some of the region’s most talented netballers had their first chance to represent their league against an experienced Southern line up.

The experienced Southern side was able to run away with the game later to come away with a 64-40 win.

RDNL coach Katie Clarke said she was proud of how her group handled themselves.

“Their coach was AJ [Ballantyne] who captains the Hawks championship side in the Victorian Netball League,” she said.

“They virtually had the Hawks championship side along with Isabella Hodgson and Annabelle Gorman, who are from Boroondara Express along with some under-23 [VNL]players.

“We were able to keep with them for three quarters and we were only down by 10 goals at three quarter time.

“They bought Isabelle back on and she was brilliant in the final quarter.”

Clarke said it was daunting for some of their players who have never played against a team like that before.

She said this would only make the playing group improve when they come back to their competition.

“We know the calibre of team we were up against,” she said. “It was a good learning experience.

“We shot the first three goals of the game. Shelby Holter’s dad was watching on the side lines and he said if you didn’t know the score you would have thought it was a lot closer.”

Clarke, who coaches Macedon, said it was exciting to see some girls who have been in the competition for a few years get their opportunities

Every player played at least 30 minutes to give everyone a real opportunity.

“Darcee Ellard was so nervous when she took the court,” Clarke said. “She’s been involved in the league for a number of years and deserved her opportunity.

“Tilly Shepherd did an awesome job after being unwell and Finn McKeagney-Stubbs was really good.

“Avana Hobson was awesome. We took her off at one point and she went back on and did everything we asked and was getting intercepts, tips and rebounds.”

Madison Brown was named player of the match for the RDNL for her performance in the midcourt.

The match was the first interleague match for the RDNL since 2019. For Clarke, who has played in several matches for the league, she loved the experience to coach the group.

“I wanted to give back to the league and the players,” she said. “I’m rapt the league gave me an opportunity to be involved.

“It was a really good day. I’m really proud of the girls. They did everything that I asked against a team that trains together regularly.”