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Anthony • 15 mins
By Joshua Papanikolaou (PSG Staff)
Effort and improvement throughout the competition is all that coach Erin Baker is asking of the Tasmanian 15 and under netball team at the 2017 Pacific School Games, and so far, they have delivered.
The closing stages of a close 30-24 loss to Victoria at Priceline Stadium had their supporter crew on their feet cheering loud enough for spectators on other courts to move across and watch for a few minutes.
With the team trailing by just a goal inside three minutes to go it sounded like a Thunderbirds home game as the crowd, that included at least one parent of every player, were willing the girls on.
“It went really well and we’re really proud of the girls,” Baker said after their team photo.
“We just focused on our own game and getting through four good quarters of quality netball, today was the first time we did that.
“Every girl has their parents out here and they’ve done really well to organise their own uniforms and make sure that they’re really loud and supportive in every game, they’ve been fantastic.
“I think we’ll be fighting it out from fifth to eighth type of place, but for us our success has really been measured on whether we can put out four quarters with our game plan.”
The Victorians are undefeated and their win against Queensland later in the day have put them in the Grand Final against New South Wales, who they only beat by three goals on Monday.
“That’s the first time we’ve gone into the second half against one of the bigger states and continued to push them right to the end,” Baker added.
“Look they’ve all contributed really well and there’s been a lot of rotation throughout the Games, it’s been a team effort.”
Baker, who coaches an open state league team in Tasmania, is coaching 15-year-olds for the first time and enjoying the challenge of tailoring how she delivers instructions to the players.
“It’s an opportunity to try something different with younger girls,” she said.
“These girls have been great, but it’s really required me to focus in on providing them with instructions on how they go about implementing the game plan, not just telling them what it is.
“I’ve really enjoyed it, and the Games is a great atmosphere.”
Tasmania play their last game on Friday at 10:20am against the Northern Territory on court three at Priceline Stadium.