New blood shines ruby red bright

By Claire Macuz and Jordan Witte

“The harder you work, the luckier you get.”

Ex-AFL coach Denis Pagan’s words ring true for 16-year-old netballers Ally Brown and Arabella Williams.

After making the decision to change clubs at the beginning of the year, Brown and Williams have worked their way through the ranks of Metro Revellers Netball Club, and made their debut in the club’s top team Division 2 side on Tuesday night against Melbourne University Netball Club (MUNC).

Head coach Ferruccio Servello brought the pair up from the Division 4 side in search of players to fill positions, after numerous injuries to reigning MVP Clare Johnson and centre-court stars Meg Matthews, Kali Fraser and Courtney Czak.

The Revellers took the court with just seven players for the entire match, but started off strongly with a dominant display by 17-year-old goal shooter Haylee Wilcox, shooting all of the Revellers score in the first term.

A strong set of drives spread across the first quarter allowing Williams, playing in wing attack, to dictate and create plays that showed initiative. She provided a strong option going forward and had an intercept within the opening minute.

Creating flowing and fluent ball movement, Williams impressed Servello, earning his praise throughout the first quarter. Servello urged Williams to body up on her opponent and not sag back into the space when defending – Williams responded with another intercept promptly, much to the coach’s delight.

The second term saw Brown moved into centre, automatically relieving the first quarter pressure where she played in the unfamiliar wing defence, out of her comfort zone and regular position.

Brown had a solid quarter for her first in the division, bouncing around the court and providing extreme levels of run and carry.

Beautiful passages of play came time and time again, with Brown controlling the speed and ball movement from the start of the play to the conclusion of it.

The following 10 minutes was almost out of a classic feel-good film. The blossoming partnership of two juniors, the fluent ball movement from one end to the other, and the extreme pressure, all exemplified how one should play at this level.

A few minor mistakes from the duo caused turnovers, which were quickly converted into goals at the opposing end. However, their speed, decisions and proficiency with ball skills proved to be the main factor in a debut gone right.

At the long break, the Revellers were one goal down after a late score by MUNC from a Brown turnover.

With the line-up remaining the same, Brown in centre and Williams in wing attack, the third quarter was all on MUNC’s terms after a blistering start and increased pressure.

The Revellers crumbled under pressure in the attack end, scoring only four goals for the quarter.

While MUNC blew the Revellers away and piled on the goals, the Revellers were lucky in that MUNC’s shooting percentage, just 50%, wasn’t any higher.

Brown and Williams continued to pass the ball between each other and carry it right to the top of the circle – the easiest position for any goaler to receive the ball from.

At the last break the Revellers went in six goals down, and Servello made the decision to move Williams into goal shooter and original goal attack Elle Kamay into wing attack, with Wilcox taking Kamay’s position. 

The move would create more flow into the goal circle by moving Williams, thoeretically, however the Brown-Williams partnership suffered, and consequently the fluency of ball movement from the defence to the attack was at a major disadvantage.

The final quarter looked very much the same as the third, with Wilcox scoring all of the Revellers goals for the term, shooting at 78% for the match.

Williams and Brown were definitely the highlight of the match for the Revellers, as they went down in a nine goal loss, controlling the centre-court and efficiently carrying the ball between them from defence to attack.

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