Koroit coach Kasey Owen backs emerging goal attack Sophie McDonald

SETTLING IN: Koroit teenager Sophie McDonald is adjusting to Hampden open grade netball. Picture: Rob Gunstone
SETTLING IN: Koroit teenager Sophie McDonald is adjusting to Hampden open grade netball. Picture: Rob Gunstone

KOROIT is hoping to expose emerging teenager Sophie McDonald to more court time in run to the Hampden league netball finals series.

The undefeated Saints, who already have the minior premiership in their keeping with two rounds to play, could use McDonald in both goal attack and wing attack.

McDonald played a half in goals as the Saints accounted for Cobden 45-37 at Victoria Park on Saturday.

Koroit coach Kasey Owen said McDonald was still adjusting to the top level but was showing glimpses of her potential.

“She’s very much a basketballer. She is really strong and with our tall Nell Mitchell in there, Sophie plays around the edge of the circle,” she said.

“It’s good because when they doubled teamed Nell, it opened Sophie up. She feeds the ball well into Nell. She doesn’t take as many shots.”

McDonald can also run through wing attack, allowing veteran Jacqui Bowman to rest.

“She sometimes pulls up sore or tired and it’s good for her to be on the edge watching a little as well and when we can do that, we do that,” Owen said.

Owen said McDonald, who has notched 10 quarters thus far, was likely to hit the court against Terang Mortlake and North Warrnambool Eagles.

The Saints defender will miss against the Bloods with commitments in Melbourne, while midcourter Carly Pulling is expected to miss to final round with Big V basketball finals.

She is confident Koroit will finish the home and away season strongly.

“Some people think there is pressure on us because we haven’t lost a game,” Owen said.

“But it just means we’re consistent.

“I think we have always got little things we want to work on. We don’t want to be complacent.

“We have a week off first up but obviously we need to be confident and have as much momentum as we can.”

Koroit was forced to work hard for its win over Cobden, which fell back outside the top five due to the defeat.

The Bombers had a three-goal lead at the first change and were two goals down at the half-time.

They pegged their way back in the second half to celebrate goal keeper Emily Batt’s 200th senior game in style.

“We gave her best-on – she thinks it was charity because it was her 200th game,” Owen said.

“She played well. When it’s a milestone, you tend to lift. It’s the adrenaline.”