Cats clawing their way to finals

Ciara Stewart in action for Macedon. (Shawn Smits)

Oliver Lees

Macedon is hitting its stride as finals approach in the Riddell District Netball League.

The Cats went on a five-game winning streak from round six to round 10 before games were halted for two weeks due to lockdown five.

Cats playing coach Ciara Stewart said the time off had been helpful for her side to get back to full strength.

“Our first few games of the season were a bit shaky because we still had players coming back from injury, and we were playing some of the stronger sides in the competition,” Stewart said.

“Now we feel really positive about the season moving forward.”

The Cats sat in third position on the ladder after nine games, with six wins and three losses.

Their run of form included a 31 point win over the Western Rams and a 44 point victory of Romsey.

The Cats have held their opponents to less than 40 points in six of their nine matches.

“We’ve been really focused on minimising our opponents scoring,” Stewart said

“That 20 point loss we had to Woodend was a real eye opener for us, unfortunately most of our A grade players were unavailable for selection that game.

“I’ve been happy with our ability to limit teams’ scoring in recent weeks.”

The changes to the team allowed young players like Madi Brennan and Shanea Brundell to get experience playing in the A-grade side.

Stewart said she was pleased with her side’s effort given the changes to their line up.

“It’s good having those younger players coming through and injecting some energy considering we’ve got an older side,” she said.

“We had two of our starters out early in the season, so to be sitting in third place, we’ll definitely take that.

“We know when we meet those top sides later in the season we’ll be stronger.”

The RDNL will reschedule each of the games that were postponed during lockdown five, meaning no games will be lost despite the restrictions.

The finals will be adjusted from a five team structure to just four teams.

Stewart said this new system leaves little margin for error.

“I think it’s great that we can play out the season as planned, but the changes will mean it’s going to be even more competitive come the end of the year,” she said.

The Cats will be looking to go one better than their 2019 season, when they fell one point short of the premiership against Rupertswood.

“I don’t see why we can’t go all the way given the form we’ve been in,” Stewart said.

“We play the other top three sides in the next three weeks, so we’ll have a clearer picture of where things stand after that.”