Goodna Sapphires netballer Renee Kalao.
Goodna Sapphires netballer Renee Kalao.

Sapphires rise above Ipswich threat

NETBALL: Goodna Sapphires captain Robyn Walsh rated the Ipswich Flyers her team's best challenger so far this season after winning the latest local derby.

The defending Queensland Premier League SEQ Cup champions turned up ready to play, beating the Flyers 68-47 in their first 2019 showdown at the State Netball Centre.

"The Flyers are definitely our toughest competition this year,'' Walsh said.

"This is also a team that has been playing together for a number of years so they are aware of how each other play, which is something you can not teach. It comes with time.

"They are a tough team to play and very physical, which we do not mind as we can match the physicality if and when required.''

In her first season as Flyers coach, Nicole Grant enjoyed the opportunity to see how the Sapphires play, in readiness for the return clash in round two.

"We had a very clear plan for this game,'' former representative player Grant said.

"The (Flyers) girls fought hard the entire game and were controlled and disciplined.

"I was very proud of how they presented themselves on the night after a rocky lead-up to the game with key players away, sick and/or injured.''

Walsh said the 21 goal winning margin didn't reflect the physicality of the game and hunger from both sides.

"We actually expected the game to be a lot tighter until about the third quarter,'' Walsh said.

"To be ahead by six at half- time was a nice buffer and then we dominated in the second half of the game.

"Apparently they had two of their shooters unable to play. However I do not believe that they would make a 20 goal difference.''

Walsh praised teammates Renee Kalao and Chrissy Peever for their performances.

"Their understanding of each other's games is such an asset to our team,'' Walsh said.

"We are not a one trick pony in the shooting circle, which confuses other teams and keeps them thinking throughout the game.''

The undefeated Sapphires were planning a quiet week having a bye tonight.

"We have had a few girls with the flu so it will be good to rest and be ready for round two,'' Walsh said.



Goodna Sapphires netballer Chrissy Peever.
Goodna Sapphires netballer Chrissy Peever.

After overcoming the Flyers' threat, Walsh had high hopes for the rest of the season.

"We will do our best to continue playing good netball and work towards finals,'' the accomplished leader said.

"We are confident we can take it out again. We just have to not get ahead of ourselves.''

QPL SEQ Cup Rd 7: Tonight (6.30pm) - Ipswich Flyers v Underwood. 7.50pm: Ipswich Vipers v Downey Park. Goodna Sapphires bye.

Round 6 results: Goodna Sapphires def Ipswich Flyers 68-47; QCNA def Ipswich Vipers 57-44.