By Pat Nolan
BALLARAT got the winning feeling back on the netball court in last year's interleague campaign - now it is a matter of keeping the momentum alive.
And for Ballarat Football Netball League senior netball coach Kate McMahon, winning is everything.
The unprecedented injection of Ballarat Pride players into the BFNL squad for Saturday's AFL Victoria Country Championships clash against Goulburn Valley at Shepparton has Ballarat in a strong position to make it consecutive interleague wins, having defeated Bendigo by four goals last year.
Having gone winless on the interleague scene for seven years prior to that match, McMahon said it was crucial the winning momentum carried on.
"It's ridiculously important, winning is everything I live for and I let that be known to people around me. They know I'm in the winning game, I don't know anything else," McMahon said.
"I love the opportunity to be out there against very high quality and that is exactly what this will be for us, it will be a real challenge for us to find out where we sit."
Three Pride players have been thrust into the team this year, certain to have a big impact throughout the court.
North Ballarat City's Sarah Milton will slot into the defensive end, while East Point duo Lauren Atkinson and Emma Ryan will play in the mid-court and attack, respectively.
Of the 10 players selected for the final squad, all come from five Ballarat clubs excluding the Swans, with neither reigning premier Sunbury nor Melton, Melton South, Darley or Bacchus Marsh represented.
McMahon said it was not a deliberate choice to only select Ballarat players, admitting it would have been great to have netballers available for selection from eastern bloc clubs.
However, it was not to be.
"Unfortunately we had nobody available from the teams, such as Sunbury and Melton, which is disappointing in a way," McMahon, who also doubles as Redan coach, said.
"I would've loved a Sophie Gunn (Sunbury) or Mel McCauley (Melton) for example in our shooting end, but on the flip side of that I have Georgia (Cann) and Gina (McCartin) who have worked together for five months now and the people feeding them know them very well as well.
"There is more than one way to skin a cat on a netball court," McMahon said.
The match against Goulburn Valley will be on Saturday, May 24.
GK-Erin Riley (Redan)
GD-Emma Ryan (East Point)
WD-Molly Boyle (Lake Wendouree)
C-Lauren Atkinson (East Point)
WA-Stacey McCartin (North Ballarat City)
GA-Gina McCartin (North Ballarat City)
GS-Georgia Cann (Sebastopol)
Sarah Milton (North Ballarat City)
Amy Elliot (Redan)
Kara Hart (Lake Wendouree)
Coach: Kate McMahon
Assistant coach: Melanie Allen
GK-Jess Brumby (Redan)
GD-Zoe Nevett (North Ballarat)
WD-Megg Collins (Redan)
C-Emily Bettio (Bacchus Marsh)
WA-Caitlyn Bewley (Darley)
GA-Elonie Hooper (North Ballarat)
GS-Sarah Keith (Darley)
Olivia Lawson (North Ballarat)
Maegon Osmond (North Ballarat)
Sophie Antonello (Darley)
Coach: Frank Pawlowicz
Assistant coach: Sheree Collins