JORDYN Billings is a hard marker.
The dynamic goal defence is brutally honest when she rates her season so far with reigning premier North Warrnambool Eagles.
“Very average,” she said.
“I’ve had some really bad games and some good games. I’ve been all right but not as good as I would want.”
The 19-year-old is aiming to have a big finish, starting today against ladder-leader Koroit at Bushfield Recreation Reserve.
When Billings turned up for the regional state league pre-season competition the fittest she’d ever been, she looked set for an impressive year.
She said her fraternal twin sister Skye, who had a knee reconstruction last year, had inspired her.
“Towards the end of last season after Skye got injured I started doing a lot more exercise and fitness work,” Jordyn said.
“I was kind of doing it for her because she couldn’t play.
“I thought I would have a big pre-season to make her feel part of it.”
Countless kilometres running, boxing sessions with her boyfriend, Eagles forward Mark Murphy, and circuit training with personal trainer Courtney Primmer led to a super-fit Billings taking the court at centre in the regional state league competition.
“I would have been able to do that towards the end of last year definitely, but not before that,” she said of the more demanding role.
Billings said the extraction of wisdom teeth that sidelined her for two matches had eroded her positive start. It effectively halted her momentum, losing fitness and missing the key clash against Koroit.
“I don’t really know what to expect,” she said of Koroit.
Billings will most likely be opposed to the recruit of the season, Saints’ goal attack Teagan Lang.
“I haven’t played on her but I did watch the game last time and she was very handy. She’s a good shooter.”
Billings said she and the Eagles were focused on peaking at the right time, like last year when they charged from fifth to win the premiership and deny Koroit an unbeaten season.
“It doesn’t bother us during the season,” she said.
“There is one game that matters and we are taking it one game at a time.”
She acknowledged the Eagles were far better placed than at this time last season, having won a club record 12 out of 13 games, compared with five from 13.
“It’s great we are winning games. We still have a lot to improve. The team is still settling and gelling together. We are still working out combinations.”
Billings, a trainee physical education assistant at Warrnambool College, is excited about today’s showdown. The return of her defensive sidekick Rachael Ryan from a foot injury helped too, she said.
Ryan will get the job on Koroit’s star shooter Carley Thomas, who is coming off a 61-goal haul last week. The Saints are the highest-scoring side in the competition and also have the number one ranked defence, with the Eagles second in both areas.
Koroit co-coach Kate Dobson said Thomas was in rare form, having spent half of last week’s match at goal attack, where she pushed up the court well.
She said the Saints were excited about the challenge the Eagles represented.
“We think it’s a huge game,” she said. “I think it will be such a tough contest. Every contest will be so important.”
Dobson said Koroit emerged from a lull last week.
“We haven’t got the consistency we had the last time we played them but we are definitely in the right space. We have improved.”
In other games, seventh-placed Port Fairy needs an upset against fourth-placed South Warrnambool to keep its finals hopes alive.
Fifth-placed Portland and sixth-placed Camperdown find themselves in an early elimination final when they meet at Leura Oval.
Eighth-placed Terang Mortlake will be looking to make it three wins in a row when it travels to Hamilton for a match against the finals-bound Hamilton Kangaroos.
Bottom side Warrnambool hosts ninth-placed Cobden at Reid Oval.