Opinion

Forever a premiership hero

by
July 27, 2017

Hardie's Heroes teammates Adem Barolli, Grace Angel, Lauren Bordin, Ash Witoslawski, Alana Christensen, Sionnie Kelly and Declan Martin.

You can never be a former premiership player.

Even if that title was a division six win at indoor mixed netball, it can’t be taken from you.

Somehow I played in just two wins for the season, the second being the grand final, but still walked away with a glass premiership cup.

And those who played all the games all year recorded less than a handful of wins, but our Hardie’s Heroes team prevailed when it counted.

I can safely say the troops rose to the occasion on Monday night.

Instead of being sluggish and swapping around positions erratically like we have done most weeks, there was some genuine effort shown as players secured some hard grabs and mostly stuck to their best position.

It was a surprise how much calm we showed considering everyone moves so frantically in a game of mixed indoor netball.

Why take three seconds to pass when you can tap it to a teammate in less than one?

This was great in theory, but in our team usually the receiver was not ready to take a pass, resulting in a turnover.

We held the larger award for the winners following the grand final victory, despite one shooter saying prior she was just happy to receive any trophy, at which I referred her to this column two weeks ago which was about not settling for participation awards.

They say don’t work with animals or children, but I would like to throw in another — don’t play competitive sport with work colleagues.

My teammates are all lovely people off the court, but geez, white line fever struck big-time once they clocked out of the office for a Monday night game.

There was one person in the team who epitomised the ruthlessness for victory.

Somehow appointed playing coach, possibly because I once coached an under-11 side and this team was at about the same standard, I was unable to put fellow sports reporter Tyler Maher into goal keeper.

‘‘Push up’’ seemed to be his go-to line like we were a bunch of defenders needing to flood the forward line, motivating us in the same way I am sure he inspires the Katamatite reserves in football.

I guess he was just going for the equivalent of the ‘‘lead to the ball’’ or ‘‘help her out’’ calls that are more conventionally heard on the court.

But the only two words Tyler seemed to know were ‘‘push up’’ and he used them at every opportunity, even when it did not quite make sense, but I appreciated the passion — except when we were 25 goals down with 30 seconds to go in a match and we were getting frustrated because there was a turnover.

Relax, it’s mixed netball and even if we get a goal, it’s not going to start the comeback of the century.

It’s hard to make a call or tell someone to tone it down when you know you have to work together the next day, but similarly once we stepped off the court all relationships returned to normal.

Shout out to our regular goal keeper Declan, who would call the umpire ‘‘ref’’ and complain about being pulled up for not being three feet away, even when defending like it was a basketball match.

Between tall players lobbing balls like we were all pushing 200cm to consistent footwork errors, I am genuinely surprised we picked up a division six trophy given how atrocious we were.

But we definitely improved by the end of the season, even if it was learning how big of a distance three feet was.

I always got a laugh when most weeks an experienced opposition player would be telling their uninitiated teammate to stand next to an opponent after contacting or to not throw the ball over a third.

Indoor netball with the nets and smaller courts takes a lot of adapting to, but sure presents a good workout thanks to how much the ball goes back and forth.

It was fun and frustrating all at the same time, Hardie’s Heroes, but I look forward to seeing you at the 10-year premiership reunion.

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