SOMETIMES young players just need an opportunity.
South Warrnambool believes its junior graduates can shine in their first season as bona fide senior netballers.
Leesa Battistello's side - which features six who played in the club's 2019 under 17 premiership - showed nerves of steel to see off a plucky Koroit in a one-goal thriller on Good Friday.
And didn't they play their part. While returning midcourter Ally O'Connor was the standout performer, the youngsters more than held their ground.
When it's this hot and Koroit, the reigning premiers are coming at us, they could've said 'this is too hard'. But they came, and they came again.Leesa Battistello
"We're probably most thrilled with their mental resolve to actually hang in the game," Battistello said.
"When it's this hot and Koroit, the reigning premiers are coming at us, they could've said 'this is too hard'. But they came, and they came again.
"We are just that proud of those girls and how they ran through that game. We had rotations for the heat but no matter who came on, they just transitioned in and it was just an outstanding effort from our girls."
South Warrnambool held firm late when Koroit leveled scores before a vital intercept in midcourt helped the Roosters edge in front with seconds remaining.
Battistello said her side's fitness - a feature it hoped to use to its advantage - paid dividends.
"Going into the game we really wanted to work on relentless pressure, and we did that for 15 minutes of the four quarters," she said.
"I think our girls are so fit. They were able to run it out. Some girls played full four quarters.
"It was the fact we were fit enough to run it out and kept coming at it, kept making the play, really contesting for balls.
"Usually when you're that exhausted you let a few go and conserve your energy but our girls just went and went and went.
"I am that proud of them. Just for their ability to stay completely focused for 15 minutes of four quarters."
So where does South Warrnambool's improvement come from?
"Koroit were amazing. They showed us that we have work to do. It wasn't that we had the supreme game by any stretch, we snatched it in the dying minutes," Battistello said. "I think our combinations will get stronger all over the court. I think we can tighten things up and make things a bit easier for ourselves so we're conserving our energy as well."
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