DO NOT assume anything – that’s the simple message from Hastings Valley defender Shannon Noble.
Noble and her teammates will head to Sydney this weekend to take on the best netballers in the state, hoping to claim back-to-back titles.
“As a team and a playing group, what we’re doing is taking this as a brand new year,” Noble said.
“What we learned was that you couldn’t assume – when we got down there it was about taking each game as it comes and that’s the plan again.
“It’s like last year never happened.”
They progressed to the next stage after winning the North Coast Regional League division one crown following 11-straight wins over Great Lakes (in August), Macleay and Woolgoolga (both in September).
The defender said confidence was high in the wake of their undefeated run, but they were also wary of what they were about to face.
In a sign of the strength of the local competition, Hastings Valley will field the best players from across every age bracked in the open age division.
“The depth of talent from Hastings Valley from juniors to seniors is excellent,” Noble said.
“The beauty of this competition is that you’re pulling the best players from each of the age groups so you’re not limited in terms of that strength.”
“That’s a strength of our team because we have a mix of youth and experience and you don’t often get that.”
Only four of last year’s state championship-winning side remain although Noble said each player knew what role they had to play.
“At any one time (coach) Michelle (Marino) will put anyone on the court so I think performance-wise it will be a game-by-game proposition,” she said.
“At this point, each player will bring something different and will be called upon in different situations.”
Hastings Valley won’t take any of their opponents across the two-day tournament lightly, whether they were from metropolitan or regional areas.
“We’ve played regional teams before that you think you’re better than and they shock you,” the defender said.
“We’re from Port Macquarie and you wonder if you’ll be underestimated by some of the metro teams; we don’t want to make that same mistake.
“It was a nice win in Woolgoolga but I think we wouldn’t be wise to go to Sydney without considering the opposition we’re about to face.”
Hastings Valley will have the added challenge of playing games in the State Cup competition that are longer quarters than the local competition.