THE best sports teams are always thinking of improvement.
Koroit knew if it was to remain in the Hampden league’s top echelon — its home for at least a decade — that it needed to tinker with its tried-and-true game plan.
The Saints made it three straight wins to start the 2014 season yesterday, crushing the previously undefeated South Warrnambool 74-33 at Victoria Park.
It was an emphatic result and a statement — last year’s runner-up is desperate to atone.
Koroit co-coach Kate Dobson said the Saints had learnt from their grand final defeat.
“I think all sports do a bit of a revolution every five or six years and I think our game plan has been good for 10 years but North has set this really good standard,” she said.
“There is so much more exposure to netball now and the game has really changed and we’re trying to learn from that.
“I think if we had have won last year we’d be a little bit more complacent but we are really, really looking to improve and with the new young girls in the side it’s really exciting.
“It doesn’t feel like you’ve played forever. It feels good, it feels new.”
Dobson said the club had an emphasis on “full-court systems”.
“You start your attacks at goal keeper throw-ins,” she said.
“When you work on an attacking drill, you always say ‘so if you were a defender’, so put yourself in the other boat.
“We think attack and defence are the same thing really, you’re just trying to defend the space.”
The Saints set the tone early against the Roosters, running away to an 18-6 quarter-time lead.
That fast start provided the spark over four quarters.
Koroit had an unassailable 20-goal lead at half-time and was 34 goals clear at the final change.
The comprehensive result surprised the veteran.
“We rated South as top five or six, fighting for that fifth spot in finals,” Dobson said.
“Obviously Kate Foster is not here but otherwise we’ve had our full list and it’s really good having Holly (Greene) back and Teagan Lang, our new player, is just coming of age every week.
“She’s just getting better and better. She’ll be that swing player.
“She is as good at both ends and for us to have the flexibility of another defender and another attacker, we haven’t had that for years.”
Dobson said the Saints ensured they had “fresh legs” each quarter which helped them extend their buffer at each change.
“At the start of the game we said we hoped to give everyone three quarters, and obviously give Holly four because she’s not here all the time,” she said.
South Warrnambool coach Leah Kermeen, who was one of the club’s best, said the heavy loss was a learning curve for her new-look combination.
“Their drive through the centre in transition, they just had such good flow through the midcourt and seemed to get it so effortlessly to their attack,” she said.
“We struggled to get it from our defence to attack due to their strong defensive pressure. That was the difference by far.”
Kermeen, who praised Bridget Smith for her game in defence, said the Roosters would use the loss to help them develop.
“It is a bit of a realisation of where we are in the competition and while it was good to get the first two wins, it gives us a new goal to work towards now,” she said.
The Roosters were without Sarah Jacobs who is battling a heel problem.