The 2017 and 2018 SEQ Cup champions Goodna Sapphires team.
The 2017 and 2018 SEQ Cup champions Goodna Sapphires team.

Sapphires wary of Flyers after taming physical threat

NETBALL: For the first time this season, the Goodna Sapphires were tested in the Queensland Premier League SEQ Cup competition.

However, the defending champions met the challenge to come out 77-44 winners over Pine Rivers.

"The score does not reflect the physicality and how hard the game actually was,'' Sapphires captain Robyn Walsh said.

"We really had to work hard and grind the game out.

"We did not play well and did not adjust to strengths of the Pine Rivers team in the early stages.''

Preparing for tonight's latest match against QUT, Walsh said Pine Rivers provided some timely pressure.

"Coming off two relativity easy wins, it definitely was a struggle for us,'' Walsh said.

"It was only in the end of the third quarter that we pulled away and were able to maintain the lead, to finish the game.''

Walsh said her team was eager to rebuild its combinations tonight after what she described as "terrible'' performance.

"We were happy to get the win, but it just shows that we have plenty to work on,'' the experienced netballer said.

"If anything we were able to hold it together and keep pushing through and believing in ourselves that we could get the job done.''

Despite the extra workout, Walsh said her players were fit and healthy as the season cranks up.

As the longest serving player in the team, Walsh likes to lead by example and keep the team focused.

She has been playing indoor and outdoor netball since she was seven.

She represented Queensland at schoolgirls and under-21 level.

Walsh continued to play at a high level, now known as Suncorp Super Netball.

"I wanted a break from the game and decided to play indoor netball for fun,'' she said.

"I have since gone on to represent Queensland and Australia for the past 13 or so years.

"I have always had a love for the outdoor netball so when the opportunity became available to play in the QPL, I mentioned it to a few of the other girls and this is how this team came about.''

Flyers on Goodna's radar

Despite the added physical pressure in last weekend's SEQ Cup game, Walsh is waiting to meet stronger teams this season, including the Ipswich Flyers.

"I was under the impression that the competition would be tougher due to the changes made in the above grades,'' she said.

"However this has not been the case so far. Alternatively it could be due the fact that the Sapphires are a well-oiled machine.''

The Ipswich Flyers also remain unbeaten after three games.

"We have Flyers on our radar and possibly QUT,'' Walsh said.

"Flyers played them last week and seemed to be pushed all the way until at least the third quarter.

"In the draw this year, we kind of follow the Flyers until we meet them at the end of round 1.

"This is helpful to the Sapphires at it allows us to gauge how other teams are when they play the Flyers, and it gives us a sense of what the teams are going to be like.''

Tonight's game is at 7.50pm.



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