Jess Hardiman received a call up to play in South Warrnambool's open grade side

BIG CHANE: Jess Hardiman will be put to the test in South Warrnambool's defence against Warrnambool's star goaler Amy Wormald. Picture: Morgan Hancock
BIG CHANE: Jess Hardiman will be put to the test in South Warrnambool's defence against Warrnambool's star goaler Amy Wormald. Picture: Morgan Hancock

Jess Hardiman usually plays as a goaler, but South Warrnambool coach Mandy van Rooy believes the teenager will thrive in defence.

Hardiman, 16, who will be promoted from the under 17s to the open side on Saturday, will be given the task of playing on experienced Warrnambool goaler Amy Wormald. Van Rooy believes her young utility is up to the task.

“Jess plays with maturity beyond her age and I think she will do a great job,” van Rooy said. 

“Amy is a tough opponent to come up against especially for someone such as Jess, but I know she will give it 100 percent and she will have a really good go at it. 

“She has been playing some really fantastic netball in the under 17s as a shooter, but she is so versatile that we’re bringing her in as a defender and it just speaks about how talented she is.”

Saturday’s game is shaping as another critical game for the Roosters, who need to to win to stay in contact with the top five.

Van Rooy said the Roosters were focusing on what they could control instead of external pressures. 

“We’re just focusing on playing better netball ourselves rather then worrying about ladder positions,” the second-year coach said. 

“We’ve had a pretty decent start to the season, but the next few weeks are critical and we need to be playing our best netball.

“We have to come out this week and be really strong and show that our first half of the season hasn’t been a waste because this is a really important couple of weeks.”

Van Rooy said she had returned to basics at training to make sure her side was prepared for the challenge against Warrnambool, which starts at the later time of 4.15pm as part of the night footy fixture.