TERANG Mortlake netballer Brooke Hoare says a change of mindset along with the addition of experience is behind her side’s rise up the Hampden open netball league ladder this year.
The Bloods have been one of the competition’s big improvers in 2019, winning five games over the first 11 rounds to sit sixth after being victorious in just two matches last season.
They boast a 5-6 record and are currently among a logjam of teams fighting it out for what is likely to be the last berth in the finals.
South Warrnambool, Camperdown and Port Fairy have also won five games, with those aforementioned clubs set to compete with the Bloods for the last spot over the final seven rounds.
Hoare said her side was enjoying the title of challenger after a tough 2018 and said greater belief in their ability as individuals and as a team has lifted the Bloods to be among the competing pack.
“Obviously it’s a pretty good vibe down there at the moment,” she said.
“We’re going into the games this year not doubting ourselves as much as we were at times last year, that was a pretty tough year.
“But this year we’re actually doing well because we’re thinking we can actually do it.”
The Bloods boasted a youthful side in the top grade last year but added plenty of experience to its ranks in the off-season, with Aimee Moloney, Faye Clarke and Melissa Burt either returning to or joining the club.
Emma Lucas also crossed over from Kolora Noorat, with those four players and Jess Davis uniting with the likes of Hoare, Libby Moloney and Jacqui Arundell in the team.
Hoare said those additions had also proved more than beneficial in the Bloods’ rise up the ladder, adding their on-court connections were becoming stronger each week.
“I think the fact we have a few more experienced girls on the court has helped us younger girls,” she said.
“With Aimee, Faye and Missy coming, we’re not as young anymore, and those three have played a lot of netball which has probably helped us younger ones a lot.
“But we’re also all working well together and we’re better connected, we’ve figured out where everyone is moving on the court without thinking about it which has been good.”
This weekend’s match could again see ladder positions potentially change as the top four sides all face challengers sitting fifth to eighth.
The Bloods will meet second placed North Warrnambool, Port Fairy meets top side Cobden, Camperdown plays Warrnambool (fourth) and South Warrnambool faces Koroit (third) in what will be an important round for almost every club.
But Hoare said the Bloods were entirely focussed on their “big game” with the Eagles, knowing all too well their finals destiny was in their hands.
She said her side would be close to full strength for the encounter, with a victory to put Terang Mortlake ever so closer to achieving its finals dream.
“Emma is away so we’ll be missing her but I think we should have everyone else available,” Hoare said.
“If we win it’ll definitely put us in good stead for the end of the year.”