Mustangs’ Billie-Jean Eggmolesse lines up to shoot in Wednesday night’s grading match.
Mustangs’ Billie-Jean Eggmolesse lines up to shoot in Wednesday night’s grading match. Sharyn O'Neill

Netball shake-up

THE Rockhampton and District netball season got under way on Wednesday night with the first two rounds of grading for the A-grade teams at Jardine Park.

Change seems to be the call for players, with some moving to other clubs for 2012.

This was a healthy development for the sport, said Bluebirds coach Barb Ahmat, whose own team had been hit harder than most.

"There are two main reasons why players go to a club.

"One is because they have friends there and the other is to learn," she said.

Ahmat believes players are now looking harder than ever to develop their game and therefore are moving to clubs where they think they can make personal progress.

"A-grade players want variety," she said.

"They want to learn from different coaches and the different players they play with.

"There has been a lot of players who have made switches."

Consequently the results from the two rounds played on Wednesday are an indication some of the teams that have done well in the A-grade in recent years might find the going a little tougher this time around.

Ahmat's Bluebirds team certainly struggled, losing to both RGS Magic and Frenchville Brumbies.

"We still don't have our full squad together," she said.

"We used a lot of our A-reserve players."

Bluebirds lost shooters Poppy Larson and Kate Kearney, who have moved out of the area, while Shanita Smith and Danielle Wyngard have switched clubs.

Added to the list, Mikaela King is away at a basketball tournament and that is the solid core of the 2011 team missing.

"Against Magic we did all right but struggled against Brumbies," she said.

"I think Brumbies will have a good side."

Certain to be competitive will be Brothers Crimson, with the reigning champion crushing both Frenchville Mustangs and Colts Divas.

Ahmat said Juanita Putman was at the courts on Wednesday wearing Brothers colours and if the former Angels player decided to play alongside Amee Brown then Brothers would be even tougher than last year.



Grading Week 1 at Jardine Park

RGS Magic 14 def Bluebirds Hawks 9

Brothers Crimson 23 def Frenchville Mustangs 9

RGS Magic 17 td Angels Titans 17

Frenchville Brumbies 26 def Bluebirds Hawks 6

Angels Titans 14 def Frenchville Mustangs 10

Frenchville Brumbies 22 def Brothers Fuchsia 9

Colts Divas 14 def Cap Coast Marlins 5

Brothers Crimson 20 def Colts Divas 10

Brothers Fuchsia 21 def Cap Coast Marlins 15