IT MAY have taken falling to an 1-to-12 deficit in the opening quarter, but Hunter United have kicked into high gear in the Metro League third division.
Guided by the shooting partnership of Krystal Dallinger and Claire Kowald, the Diamonds recovered the 11-goal margin to score a momentous 50-47 victory over Eastwood Ryde.
The Diamonds’ coach, Babette Armstrong, explained the girls “looked around”, saw they were not doing the right things, and “fixed it all”.
“They realised they weren’t doing what they were supposed to be doing, and I was sitting there thinking ‘oh my god, we are so far down’,” Armstrong said. “After that they just turned it on. It was so impressive.”
“They used their smart heads, played smart netball, and it ended up begin 9 to 14 at the first break. [Eastwood Ryde] were just lost after that, they didn’t know how to stop us when the girls were ‘on’.”
Armstrong praised the attacking end of the court – Erika Simpson (centre), Nikki Murnane (wing) and Dallinger (goal attack) – for their “fast movement”, as well as Dallinger’s combination with young shooter Kowald at the end of each attack.
“The other team couldn’t pinpoint which girl to shut down, when Simpson was centre she was attacking through Murnane and Dallinger and it was too fast to stop,” United’s coach said.
“When they couldn’t shut down either we just went crazy, we could break their centres and score in no time.”
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“When it’s taking two or three passes and then Kowald is just putting them away fabulously, they can’t compete. We just climbed back from there.”
Although the Diamonds’ attack was “on tune”, Armstrong also heaped praise on the squad’s defence, especially as they coped with reduced playtime for Annie Neenan – she was restricted to just two quarters as she battles with injury.
“It’s difficult rotating defence, it means that the girls aren’t getting used to each other,” she explained. “That said, Renee Smith came on and dictated the wall, and made sure Eastwood Ryde had no options.”
The win puts United’s development squad in striking distance of seventh – a single win off moving up the third division ladder – and right behind their defeated opponents Eastwood Ryde.
Hunter United’s first division team, the Emeralds, had the bye round.
THIRD DIVISION STANDINGS: Inner Western Suburbs, Randwick (20), Manly-Warringah, Liverpool City, St George (12), Parramatta (10), Eastwood Ryde, Camden (8), Hunter United (6), Sutherland (2)