Eagles keen to up the ante

May 04, 2018

After not playing to its potential last week against Mooroopna, Mansfield players including rising star Nelle Cousins are hopeful of a better showing against Tatura tomorrow.

Mansfield has a point to prove against Tatura this weekend.

The Eagles host the Bulldogs and are eager to rebound from a disappointing effort against Mooroopna last round.

Mansfield managed just 13 goals at home to the Cats and coach Emily Hutchins said her side was raring to turn that performance around.

But she knows it will not be easy against Tatura as the Bulldogs continue to test some of the top sides.

‘‘We’re a bit nervous (to face Tatura), we had a rocky game last week and we’re pretty keen to do better,’’ Hutchins said.

‘‘The girls are fired up after last week, so it’s a good week to have Tat because its definitely one of our games where we’re hoping to come out strong.’’

The Eagles have produced varying levels of intensity in their opening matches as the young side continues to try and stay in the game for longer.

Jemma Blackall has been a valuable inclusion in that respect, with her Victorian Netball League experience guiding the attacking end.

‘‘It’s tough, we do have young girls in our attacking end, but we do have Jemma Blackall and she’s got a lot of experience, so our focus at training (last night) is to get the ball to her and we’re confident in our defensive end,’’ Hutchins said.

Maddie Smith and captain Jess Walker will be those tasked with stopping Tatura’s Brylee Schache and Danielle Cornwall.

With Smith travelling from Melbourne Hutchins said she already had a strong rapport with Walker.

‘‘They’re both VNL and went to school together, so we’ve got a good connection and Maddie has come into the side very easily,’’ Hutchins said.

Nelle Cousins is set to be a genuine star of the competition and Hutchins consistently has high praise for the defender in her first year as a starter in A-grade.

The Bulldogs saw off Mansfield in round one of last year’s competition for their drought-breaking win, but Tatura is looking for more this season.

Having stood up to likely top-six sides Echuca and Shepparton Swans this season, but still unable to gather four points, co-coach Molly Boyle does not want to settle for close losses.

‘‘We’re setting expectations high this year about what we want to get out of ourselves this year and it’s nice to know we’re pushing sides, but we’d love to beat one of the top teams, so we’re taking what we can from those games and working towards when we meet them again,’’ she said.

A few inclusions into the side is continuing to help Boyle on her mission, with patience early to be worth it in the long run.

‘‘We’re still working to jel in our attacking end because we’ve got a range of new players, so we’re getting used to how we play, but we generally get better as the game goes on,’’ Boyle said.

Maddy Davis is the definition of consistent as she joins Boyle and Emma Ryan in defence.

‘‘She’s just reliable, we always know what we’re going to get from her in a wing defence role or she can be a circle defender if need be,’’ Boyle said.

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