NICK Prior would have been satisfied with a weekend that finished with a 50 per cent win-loss ratio.
So the coach was ecstatic when his under-17 Port Macquarie Dolphins girls team knocked off Bellinger Valley 29-19 in the 2018 Seaside Classic final.
The Dolphins raced out to an early 14-3 lead before they saw off a determined Braves outfit.
“I didn’t expect to be winning this tournament, I thought if we split our games 50-50 it would be a fair result,” Prior said.
“Previously we’ve been on par or a little bit behind so to beat a Coffs Harbour and then a Bello team this time of year is quite impressive.
“It shows we’re hopefully on track for a positive season for next year.”
In claiming the 10-point victory in the final, the Dolphins avenged their defeat to the same opponent earlier in the day.
While they only lost one of their six matches over the course of the weekend, Prior was happy with his team’s resolve on limited preparation.
“With all the new girls in the team, everything we’ve done has been on the back of good basics and good fundamentals,” he said.
“We didn’t have any structured offensive or defensive traps, it was just the girls playing hard.
“Our defence was phenomenal for the first 10 minutes of the final and we knew it wasn’t going to continue to that extent, but we had to ride that for as long as we could.”
Representative duo Maddi Baxter and Monique Rudder led the way, but the coach was most impressed with the performance of Prada Hanlon in the final.
“She ended up fouling out, but we were generally outsized and undermanned inside with our height, so the job she did was critical in terms of keeping us competitive,” Prior said.
“She did the grunt work and the less flashy stuff that no one sees.”
Rudder admitted they were more focused for the final game of the tournament.
“We knew we had a job to do,” she said.
“We knew we had to get rebounds because we didn’t have that much height and one of our players left yesterday, but we pulled through.”
Baxter said they learned from their only defeat leading into the final.
“We played more collectively as a team and our defence was stronger and we weren’t as asleep,” she said.
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