Bombers in sustained assault on finals

Madison Caulfield was best on court in Riddell's qualifying final win. Picture Shawn Smits

Riddell issued a warning in the opening round of the Riddell District Netball League finals … it means business.

Playing Rupertswood, a side that matched them last time they played, the Bombers flew out of the blocks in the opening quarter, leading 17-3 at the first break.

Despite all attempts by the Sharks, the Bombers proved too strong, outscoring them in every quarter to win 51-25.

For Bombers’ coach Lauren Close, the start to the game was completely different to the last time the two met.

“We’ve focused a lot the last few weeks on our game and making sure we did that going into this game,” Close said. “We practised our structures really well and knew what we had to do to beat Rupertswood after last time.

“The conditions weren’t fantastic and we played to our strengths.”

Close said despite the early lead the Bombers knew they had to maintain the pressure and the same level of hard play.

“We pretended at the start of each quarter that it was the start of the game and scores were level,” Close said.

“Rupertswood is a team that will never back down and we knew at the third quarter that they’d come at us … and they did. The girls just followed through with what we’d been doing.”

Madison Caulfield was best for the Bombers at wing attack, a position that she’s making
her own. Caulfield is also the side’s third shooter.

“Madi was definitely best on court,” Close
said. “She has a calm, steady head but knows when to fire up when needed.”

Mikaela Vaughan shot 27 goals from 46 attempts, while Christine Harris had her best game for the year, shooting 24 from 33.

“With Christine back in as shooter, Madi is able to fire the passes into her and she just shoots. We changed up Mikaela’s and Christine’s positions a few weeks ago, and it has worked really well,” Close said.

“All the eyes are on Mikaela as she pushes up the court. It confuses people and they forget about Christine.”

For the Sharks, Sidonie Moore shot 10 from 17 attempts as the other shooters struggled, while defender Kirsten Daley was named best on court.

It was a nervous Close going into the game after missing the finals last year. She played the first three quarters in defence, before going to the bench in the final quarter.

“I was a bit eager to get onto the court,” she said. “And we want to get back to where we were last year, a grand final.”

The Bombers now play Macedon for a shot at that opportunity.