Rising to the challenge

AFTER being part of an A reserve premiership team  last year, Natalie Meade wanted to tackle a new goal. 

Natalie Meade is relishing her first A grade season with Panmure. 140731VH16 Picture: VICKY HUGHSON

Natalie Meade is relishing her first A grade season with Panmure. 140731VH16 Picture: VICKY HUGHSON

So she put her hand up for selection in Panmure’s A grade side for 2014, was selected and has found her place in the centre. 

It’s been the primary school teacher’s first season playing in the A grade competition and she said she has adapted to the different pace the highest grade offers each week. 

“It’s been hard, with the longer quarters and the faster pace. It’s taken me a while to get used to it and to be truthful, I think I’m still getting used to it,” Meade said. 

“Everything has been that little bit faster, the training and the pace of the match, but it’s a challenge I wanted to tackle for the past couple of years and it’s good to finally have the chance.

“I put my hand up to play last year and didn’t get selected, so I played in the A res which ended up with a premiership. I put my hand up again at the start of this year and was picked. 

“I’m always looking for a new challenge and playing A Grade has certainly thrown up a good one.” 

Panmure coach Megan Titmus said Meade had added extra speed to the side. 

“She’s super slick and can run all day,”  Titmus said. 

“She’s keen to learn and always has a lot of questions and has been improving each round which is all you can ask for as a coach.” 

Meade said the close nature of the netball competition this year meant there hadn’t been a chance for complacency and had forced the side to work hard as a team each week. 

“There hasn’t been any games where you are guaranteed you could walk out on court and say, yeah we’ll win this. “

It’s really close and you never know what you will get from week to week,” she said. 

The Bulldogs sit second on the ladder with 13 wins and three losses. Today they face top of the table Old Collegians who are undefeated.

Meade said it would be a tough match but the Bulldogs’ focus would be to play their own game and not worry about what happened last time they met. 

The Bulldogs will be without goal keeper Emma Roach who has suffered a possibly season ending injury. 

“Not having Emma will have an impact, but we are versatile and we should be able to cover her loss,” she said. 

“It’s going to be a tough match, we are just going to have to put everything else behind us and give it our best.” 

Warriors coach Lisa Arundell said she was expecting a closer match than the last time to the two met. 

“I think both teams have built since those early matches. They always match up against us really well and I think they will take it up to us. 

“We will be without Jess Downing who is injured, so that’s disappointing. 

“The next two weeks will be tough matches for us, but we are playing top-five sides, so it will be a good test for us as we head into finals.” 

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