Northern Rays Put To The Test On The Court
The Northern Rays have returned to North Queensland after an impressive display in the pre-season tournament of the inaugural Hart Sapphire Series.
Playing four games in two days the team had an even ledger with two wins and two losses.
Coach Jillian Joyce was happy with her team and felt the tournament was a great hit out with a month until the season proper starts.
“It was good for these athletes to get down to Brissy and see the standards of what we will be playing,” Joyce said.
“To come away with some wins was a bonus, but for me this weekend was about exposing the players to the standard and testing the water for where we are at with the season a few weeks away.”
The Rays opened their account with a scrappy game against QUT Wildcats, going down 22 – 38.
Goal Attack, Jacqueline Dupuy, felt the game was reflective of being the first time the group had played together at this level.
“There were a lot of nerves and a lot of excitement and we probably didn’t harness that the best,” Dupuy said.
“But we settled and matched them goal for goal in the second half, which helped us to have confidence and build through the rest of the weekend.”
The second game against Jets Netball was a stronger performance, with the northerners building across the game, but unable to overcome a slow start going down 22 – 34.
On Sunday the team opened against the premiers of the State League Tier One in 2018, the North Brisbane Cougars.
In an impressive display the Rays came back from a four-goal deficit at the first break to win the game 34 – 23.
In the final game of the mini tournament the Netball North Queensland representative unit faced our nearest neighbours in the competition, the USC Thunder based out of the Sunshine Coast.
The Thunder threaten to be a major contender in the competition, but the Rays took it in their stride to win each quarter to finish the game 35 – 27 victors.
“We are not getting ahead of ourselves, we still have a lot of work to do,” Joyce said.
“A few of the teams were under strength due to Australian Netball League and Firebirds commitments, but I am still happy with where we are.
“The most important thing for me is our performances gives us a clear road map for what we need to do between now and June 29 when we play our first game.”
The Northern Rays, having the bye in round one, open their season against the QUT Wildcats on June 29 in Mackay.
The Northern Rays still have a variety of sponsorship positions available and invite any businesses wanting to be a foundation partner of North Queensland’s elite netball team to contact them.
Game 1 – Sat 25 May 12.45pm. Rays 22 def by QUT Wildcats 38
Game 2 – Sat 25 May 4.30pm. Rays 24 def by Jets Netball 32
Game 3 – Sun 26 May 9.00am. Rays 34 def Brisbane North Cougars 23
Game 4 – Sun 26 May 12.45pm. Rays 35 def USC Thunder 27