THE team that will start on the court for Camperdown in Saturday’s preliminary final is not the one the Magpies would have expected at the start of the season.
It is missing a couple of veteran stars in Tracey Baker and Emily Stephens, who are both out injured.
It would have been easy for the injuries to those key players to have derailed Camperdown’s flag ambitions.
Instead, the Magpies’ young brigade has stepped up and shown it is perfectly suited to playing open grade netball.
“Due to injuries in all our senior sides, our hand has been forced to give some of those kids more court time than they would’ve gotten if the likes of Tracey and Emily and those sorts of girls had been fit,” Magpies midcourter Leah Sinnott said.
“It’s probably been a blessing in disguise that our junior development has been able to take place in a more ramped-up scenario.”
Sinnott’s return to the senior team in round seven was good timing for a side needing more experienced heads in the midcourt.
Although playing in wing attack for the first time took some getting used to, Sinnott said she was happy with her form over the past six weeks after an injury-interrupted start to 2017.
“That was the goal (to play open grade),” she said. “I’d done a decent pre-season, got myself all fit, and my calf went before the first round.
“I took a week or two off, then I cam back and strained my calf. I’ve just battled injuries throughout the season with calf tears and lower back issues.
“The intention was for me to start the season in the senior team, but it didn’t happen that way.”
The veteran Magpie is looking forward to another close tussle between her side and North Warrnambool Eagles, with their home-and-away matches both being decided by just one goal, while the Eagles won the qualifying final two weeks ago by two goals.
“I felt like we had our opportunities last time we played them,” Sinnott said.
“The weekend gone, when we played Cobden, we’d ironed out some of the things that hurt us against the Eagles. It’s going to be a tight, physical contest all the way across the court.”