Leading Qld coach helps Jets players fuse into higher levels
NETBALL: With Queensland Fusion coach Tracey Jeanes-Fraser at the helm, the Jets have made a terrific start in the exciting new Sapphires series.
The Jets countered a third quarter challenge from the reputable Tigers before securing a 62-51 victory in their season opener on Sunday.
"The Tigers are a very well drilled team and they have got some great experience out on the court,'' Jeanes-Fraser said.
"So for us to get the win by the margin we did, we were extremely happy.''
The Jets' next match is against last year's competition winners Cougars on July 2.
In their opening hit-out, the Jets led 17-11 at the first change, still ahead 33-22 at halftime.
However, the Tigers came back strongly in the third quarter when Jeanes-Fraser made some changes at the Queensland Netball Centre.
"The new format has rolling subs so we wanted to see how that would work,'' she said.
"I spoke to the girls at the third quarter and they put their foot down again and we won the fourth quarter.''
Fresh from her recent Queensland Fusion coaching commitments, Jeanes-Fraser is delighted to be working with an initial squad of 24 players at the Jets.
That covers two teams playing in the restructured Sapphires series and the feeder Ruby series.
The Sapphires series gives talented players more opportunities to progress up the ranks.
"We train as a squad,'' Jeanes-Fraser said.
"We have a leadership session on Saturday morning and get their game expectations and cultural requirements from the squad.
"The way it works is the Sapphire series will hopefully be a platform for girls going into higher level such as Firebirds or Queensland Fusion.
"The Ruby series is basically the platform hopefully exposing some of the Jets girls so they can move into our Sapphires' environment.''
In one way, the Ruby series is really like the Reserve Grade competition for the Sapphires series.
Camille Rieck is coaching the Jets squad in the Ruby South series, working with Jeanes-Fraser.
Stephanie O'Brien and Siobhan Shirlaw are co-captains of the Jets Sapphires team. Brooke Hams is vice-captain.
Jeanes-Fraser said working with the Jets was a timely next step.
"It blends well to me because of the fact that I've already been exposed to it,'' she said.
"Our rolling subs actually worked quite well yesterday.
"It also gives me a good understanding of what level is required to get these girls across the line.
"With the Fusion commitments finishing last week, it's all gung-ho for the Jets.''
Seven elite sides are involved in the new Netball Queensland representative series. Joining the Jets, Tigers and Cougars in weekly games are Thunder, Bull Sharks, Wildcats and Northern Rays. The finals start in September.
In the earlier Ruby series match on Sunday, the Jets lost their first game 50-47 in the final few minutes after leading for much of the game.
Both teams continue their campaigns on July 2 against the Cougars.
Jets Netball operations manager Troye Pollock was delighted with the positive start of the Ipswich-based teams on the opening weekend.
"The Tigers have always been the ones to beat,'' Pollock said. "The girls played really well.''
The Jets teams train at the Queensland Netball Centre where games are played.
State of play
Sapphires series Rd 1: Jets def Tigers 62-51.
Next match: Tuesday, July 2 v Cougars (7.40pm).
Ruby series Rd 1: Tigers def Jets 50-47.
Next match: Tuesday, July 2 v Cougars (6pm).
Games at the Queensland Netball Centre, Mt Gravatt.