BALLARAT Pride’s championship squad is looking to bounce back from last week’s heavy loss to Boroondara Genesis in the opening round of the Victorian Netball League’s home and away season.
Despite fielding a vastly different team to the one that took to the court last year, Federation University Ballarat Pride was handed a 67-33 defeat by one of the competition benchmarks at the State Netball and Hockey Centre.
Pride will take on the Hume City West Falcons at the SNHC tonight in an attempt to earn back some respect before facing the Geelong Cougars on Saturday in what is a hectic start to the season.
Club administrator Jordan O’Keefe refused to comment on the prospects of the championship squad for this week and beyond, but was optimistic about the under-19 team returning to some winning form after it regains several key players for tonight’s clash.
This week’s team will be boosted by the return of centre court and defending players Ruby Parry, Chelsea Sartori and Amy Starzer.
The star trio were missed in the 13-goal loss to the Genesis in the first round.
Ballarat remained in touch throughout the first-half and trailed by five goals at half-time before conceding 13 goal to four in the third quarter and eventually going down 44-31.
“We realise that everything won’t magically just fall back into place with the return of these players into the squad,” O’Keefe said.
“It’s going to be hard work and a huge ask of the players but we revel in the challenge of playing these top sides in the opening rounds.
“Pride and Falcons have a very competitive rivalry and history has shown our 19s rise to the occasion when we play City West.”
Centre court player Madison Gay has been omitted this week due to an ankle injury and will be monitored by fitness staff and training staff.
The third round will be played out on Saturday against the Geelong Cougars in Geelong, followed by a return to the SNHC in round four against Yarra Valley Grammar Ariels on February 26.
CHAMPIONSHIP: City West Falcons v Ballarat Pride at State Netball and Hockey Centre court three, 7pm.
DIVISION ONE: City West Falcons v Ballarat Pride at State Netball and Hockey Centre court three, 9.40pm.
19/UNDER: City West Falcons v Ballarat Pride at State Netball and Hockey Centre court three, 8.20pm.