TIMBOON Demons’ bid to play Warrnambool and District league netball finals all but ended with two losses in three weeks to Deakin University mid-season.
But look within a campaign which initially had promise and the efforts of a teenager handling the step up to A grade have brought much hope to the club.
Shooter Rebecca Dendle, the youngest player in the Demons’ side, is unassumingly having an impact in the goal circle beside coach Hayley Plozza.
The Timboon P-12 College student, 16, has played all her netball with the club but only rose into A grade when two taller shooters opted not to play.
Plozza offered her the chance to step up, she accepted and is yet to regret her decision, despite having to deal with a healthy dose of apprehension.
“They lost Megan Methven and Hannah McDonald, they didn’t really have any shooters for A grade. They asked me to do it and I was happy to,” she said.
“Definitely (there were nerves). At the start it was very nerve-racking to be up with such good netballers but they helped me through, it’s been really good.”
Dendle credited the belief of Plozza with being able to handle the transition. “She’s been a really big influence, she teaches me stuff in A grade and I try and use that down in 17s. She’s definitely helped me a lot,” she said.
Kelly Plozza, the Demons’ 17 and under coach and A grade teammate, and her mother Cathy have also been factors in her development.
“Mum, she used to play netball when she was young, she’s helped me along the way. She was a coach back in the day,” Dendle said.
The enthusiasm is reciprocated from coach to player. Hayley Plozza said she had been rapt with how easily Dendle had fitted into the side.
“She’s basically run out the goal attack role and in the last few weeks she’s gone back to goal shooter,” she said. “She’s slotted in nicely, she does her job without much fuss, she’s a nice goaler.
“I watched her in the juniors and the previous year she played a lot in A reserve, went from goals to wings and did a nice job there.”
Eighth-ranked Timboon Demons, three matches out of the top five, take on second-ranked Panmure at Timboon Recreation Reserve today.
Plozza said she wanted the side, in the midst of a four-match losing streak, to finish the season on a high.
“We want to just try and get as many wins on the board as we can and use some of the players who have missed a bit of court time,” she said.