Romsey Redbacks’ new blood steady ship

Romsey Netball Club continues to match it with the top sides in the Riddell District Netball League despite a change of personnel in the off-season.

The Redbacks have five wins, a draw, a bye and a loss in the opening eight rounds.

The draw came when the game against Rupertswood was abandoned because of the weather.

Defender Stephanie Barnes said it was at the defensive end of the court where the changes had happened.

“Obviously we lost a few players but we’re really happy with the season so far,” she said.

“We knew we had big shoes to fill and we played around in our defence.

“Tayla [Behan] came across from Riddell while one of the girls said they knew a player, Soli Ropati, who was really keen to come to trials.

“Soli [who plays under-19’s in the Victorian Netball League] has fitted in really well.”

At the other end of the court, the Redbacks are fielding a familiar combination.

“Our attacking end is a strong attack and the last four seasons have had a similar line-up,” Barnes said.

“Hope [Evans] is a tall target and she and Bronwyn [Blair] have played together for so many years

“Bron knows how she [Evans] plays and gets out of her way and lets her do her thing.”

Evans leads the competition in goals scored.

“Hope has had three kids. Some players slow down when they get to this point in their career but she is just getting to her best,” Barnes said.

Barnes, who coaches the C-grade and under-19s, said both sides had blown her away.

The Redbacks want to continue the form that has served them so well in the opening eight weeks of the season.

“We have a couple of tough games ahead,” Barnes said. “We have to be consistent and keep at what we have been doing.”

The Redbacks lost their first game of the season on Saturday, going down 37-31 to Melton Centrals.

Both sides were missing players, with the Redbacks without Toni Lind and Ropati because of Victorian Netball League commitments, while Blair was another not playing.

In other games

Riddell welcomed back Ryan medallist Lauren Close in its 85-7 win over Kilmore.

Close, who coaches the Bombers, hasn’t played since hurting her knee last year.

Lancefield won a thriller over Diggers Rest 51-48, Macedon was too strong for Rockbank winning 57-37, while Wallan defeated Woodend-Hesket 45-29.