How Jets are building stronger netball squads
NETBALL: Out of every defeat comes at least one positive, especially when you've created two higher level teams like the Ipswich Jets.
That was the case at the Queensland State Netball Centre when the Jets' Ruby series side won their first match of the new season.
The Jets beat Cougars 52-41 after a narrow 50-47 loss to Tigers in the opening round.
Although the Jets' Sapphire series team were beaten 60-49 on the same night, head coach Tracey Jeanes-Fraser was encouraged by the growing link between the two sides.
Jeanes-Fraser was pleased to see Sapphire squad members Charlie Bell and Ashlen Garrett receive extended game time in the Jets Ruby team's victory.
Bell was goal shooter for half a game and Garrett assumed a goal keeper role for four quarters in a focus by Jeanes-Fraser to strengthen the pathway between both competitions.
"We've been prepared to allow our Sapphires players to move down and assist the Rubies girls,'' she said.
"It also allows the girls that may not get enough court time under me to be exposed so we're keeping them in the mix across the two teams.
"A lot of coaches wouldn't have done what I did.
"It was a mark of my objective really to get girls on court and have them play at their best.''
Under Netball Queensland's restructured format, the Sapphire series is a valuable feeder competition for the Queensland Firebirds at national level.
The Ruby series is a level below the Sapphire competition, creating added opportunities for promising young netballers to receive more experience and to advance.
The Jets Ruby players train with the Sapphire series regulars, providing more linkage.
"Any Rubies players that are standing up, I can then move up,'' Jeanes-Fraser said.
As Queensland Fusion coach, Jeanes-Fraser is eager to improve development and have squads like the Jets working closer together.
Although the Jets Sapphire series team lost, Jeanes-Fraser said it was a valuable lesson after a first-up victory.
"It's a quality team,'' she said of the Cougars, many of which work with Jeanes-Fraser in the Queensland Fusion environment.
The Jets were well in Tuesday night's game at halftime before the Cougars stamped their authority.
"They applied a lot of pressure. They were very relentless,'' the Jets coach said.
The main learning for the Jets was sticking to what they formulate before the match.
"We probably went away from our game plan,'' Jeanes-Fraser said.
"We lost it ourselves. That comes down to the credit of the Cougars and the level that they play.''
However, the Jets coach was encouraged seeing her players disappointed knowing they expected more.
The Jets team included Queensland Firebirds defender Laura Clemesha, who was able to play with the Suncorp Super Netball League in recess due to the World Cup.
Jeanes-Fraser took advantage of Clemesha playing a full game, giving more experience to her Sapphire series regulars.
"All my girls got on court,'' she said.
"It's really important to expose our newbies basically for the upcoming season because we've got a team where we have to work.''
The Jets' next Sapphire and Ruby series matches are on Sunday afternoon.
The Jets' Sapphire line-up face Northern Rays at 1.30pm before the Ruby players take on the Panthers at 3.10pm.
State of play
Sapphire series Rd 2: Cougars def Jets 60-49.
Next match: Sunday (1.30pm) - v Northern Rays.
Ruby series Rd 2: Jets def Cougars 52-41.
Next match: Sunday (3.10pm) v Panthers.
Both matches at the Queensland State Netball Centre.