The Glen Innes opens netball team have made their way back to town after an eye-opening state championships.
Heading into the tournament, Julie Fuller’s young team weren’t expecting to made huge inroads in the competition but stuck it to the sport’s heavyweights.
“They only won one game, we beat Illawarra by six which was amazing. That was one of the ones I didn't even think we would go close to,” Fuller said.
“We went down in a couple of games by two and three.
“We got two floggings but not majorly, we were competitive the whole time which I thought was really good.”
It was a learning curve with the youngsters coming up against seasoned netballers who have played at the top level for years.
“It took until Saturday to realise that this is tough and we had to really dig deep and fight for every ball because it was really physical,” Fuller said.
“[Eventual winners] Manly even came up and said ‘you have a lot of young, talented girls there and they have done really well.’
I wanted them to fight hard which they did. I was really happy with them.Julie Fuller
While they missed out on a handful of wins, Fuller was proud of how they handled the step up.
“The girls didn't back off, we were competitive and we weren't a pushover for any of those teams and that was what I wanted,” she said.
“I wanted them to fight hard which they did. I was really happy with them.”
She highlighted the performances of Liz Chard and Emily Burton.
“Lizzie Chard, she is only 16, she probably played the best I have seen her play in a long time,” Fuller said.
“She kept her cool the whole time and being a goal shooter, that is really hard because they get bashed all the time by the goal keeper.
“Her in particular and Em Burton at the other ended defending, they did really well and really stepped up.”