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IRYMPLE started the much-anticipated SNFL season with an impressive A Grade win against South Mildura at Sarah Oval yesterday.

The 60-44 battle was fought in front of a packed venue.

Irymple coach Travis Coombes put the triumph down to the team’s “to-be-reckoned-with” backline.

“It was a good game … our girls played well and I think the score reflected the way we played,” Coombes said.

And while he didn’t know what to call the game style because he’s a basketball coach”, Coombes said the team prevailed because it “just gave them nothing in the first half”.

“If we can do that and score most times that’s all we really need … and that’s what we did today,” he said.

“What I’ve brought over from basketball is a focus on possession of the ball … and not throwing the ball away.

“And our shooters made a very high percentage of shots.

“This week we’re going to focus on control, looking after the ball and just getting the kids to get back to the ball instead of throwing it long … presenting to the ball.”

Coombes said South Mildura had a few players back who hadn’t trained much, or at all, and “that might have thrown South out a bit”.

“But our girls were really good,” Coombes said.

And while South Mildura coach Loretta Thompson said it was the first time the women had played together as a team, she was impressed by the more experienced players taking leadership on the court.

“Our captain Maddy Toms really stood up today and directed the girls … we had some young girls and some new A Graders,” Thompson said.

“Clearly our fitness is something we’ll be working on.

“Doing fitness is entirely different to being match-fit so getting into a few matches will be good for our performance.

“And sometimes our decision-making wasn’t great with some of our passes, so we’ll be looking at that.

“Again, that comes with experience.”

But the coach said she was proud of the way the women “showed up” and the energy they brought to round 1.

“In the second half we were right up there with everything,” she said.

Story and photo courtesy of Sunraysia Daily

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