Seasoned Goodna skipper inspires team confidence
NETBALL: When your team captain is content and playing well, it's highly likely the whole side is performing at a consistently high standard.
That's the case at the Goodna Sapphires where skipper Robyn Walsh is typically relaxed heading into Thursday night's SEQ Cup local derby against the Ipswich Flyers.
While she expects another strong challenge and physical battle with the Flyers, Walsh reflected the positive spirit in her side keen to keep its unbeaten record intact with finals just weeks away.
"I am really happy with my season,'' the state and Australian representative said.
"I have played some great games and feeling confident in my ability that I deserve to be on court.
"I am quite a few years older than most of my opposition players so the fact that I am able to compete and shut them down gives me a huge confidence boost.''
Walsh conceded her 2018 season was not her best, mainly due to being hampered by a knee injury that required surgery.
"So this year, I am feeling fitter and faster than I have in a long time and I feel this is evident in my on-court performance,'' she said.
As for the Flyers, the experienced captain played down any added focus on Goodna's cross-town rivals.
"It is no concern to the Sapphires when we play the Flyers,'' Walsh said.
"We look forward to playing them as it makes us step up and it normally is a really tough game mentally and physically.''
However, Walsh shared what her team learnt from their first round 68-47 win over the Ipswich side.
"That they are very physical and we had to not wait for umpire calls to be made and we had to contest every ball,'' she said.
"The Flyers rely a lot on their goal attack, so we are going to make sure we shut her down. They have brought in quite a tall shooter so defensively we will have our work cut out for us.
"We have played this combination before so we know what we will have to do to get the win on the board.''
As for her team's overall progress being favourites to win a third consecutive title, Walsh offered her trademark faith in her teammates.
"We are travelling well,'' she said, reflecting on Goodna's 11 wins, featuring 874 goals and only conceding 414.
"We did not think that we would be undefeated at this last stage of the round. However we have been playing some really good netball and putting it all out on the court and will look at continuing this to finish the season on top and progress into the finals.''
The Sapphires enter Thursday night's local derby having outclassed Cornubia Park 77-33 last week.
"It was great to come away with a win with three of our regular players away, two being centre court and one defender away,'' she said.
"This will be the case this week as well, so it gave us an opportunity to look at different combinations and the fill-in players to get a game under their belt before we meet the Flyers.
"We had a change in the last quarter with me going into goal shooter and Chrissy (Peever) into goal keeper - not a normal combination for us, but it actually worked quite well.''
QPL SEQ Cup Rd 13: Thursday - Pool A: 6.30pm: Goodna Sapphires v Ipswich Flyers.