HEATHCOTE Netball Club’s A grade is on the board and coach Lorrae Closter is determined her team’s first win since 2016 won’t be its last.
But Closter is also a realist.
When the court erupted on the final whistle as her girls registered a seven-goal win (41-34) against Leitchville-Gunbower the coach was delighted to see the joy and excitement.
Not just in her players but in the crowd and then the town.
“The crowd was fantastic,” Closter said.
“By the last quarter there were people there cheering I did not even know, it was great for the team, the club and the town,” she said. “But now we are back to the program, back to a week at a time, and back to getting better the deeper we go into the season.
“When I joined from South Bendigo, our initial goal was to be competitive every week on court.”
She is now pretty sure the players have delivered their part of the initial bargain.
Pushing league heavyweight Colbinabbin gave her girls a greater sense of self belief but knocking over a finalist from 2017 was as big as it gets for the current regime.
“It was amazing, the sideline support, the girls and defender Kyra McCulloch, who had to come off after the first quarter and was replaced by A Reserve’s Chan Whiting, everyone got to share the win,” Closter said.
“No question the girls have really clicked on court, and I expect that connection to get stronger,” she said.
“I really didn’t know we would find success this early in the season but this week against Mount Pleasant is a game where we have to maintain focus and have to build on what we have just achieved.”
With four new players and three from 2017 the strong defence the club has had, anchored on keeper Tanya O’Halloran and McCulloch as goal defence, is now being complemented by a quality mid court and Felicity Hasthorpe and Annalyse Carroll in the goal circle. Closter plays centre with Tyler McKeown at wing attack and Britt Shaddock playing wing defence.
Top side Mounts is the only undefeated team in the competition and will have home court advantage on Saturday.
But being just half a game out of the top five will be a pretty good place to start part two of the Heathcote netball renaissance – from competitive to winners (on a regular basis).