LEARNING to win has been one of the greatest challenges for Corowa-Rutherglen coach Beck O’Connell.
But last week the Roos showed a determination and fighting spirit built on self belief and has the club targeting new highs in the Ovens and Murray netball competition.
The two-point win over perennial powerhouse Yarrawonga at John Foord Oval broke a losing streak dating back to mid-90s.
“We have always had great games against Yarra in recent years — high-scoring, free-flowing affairs but invariably we were on the wrong side of a hiding,” O’Connell said.
“It was recurring issue — even in games where we played well and were in the contest we couldn’t get over the line.
“In part we have had to learn how to win those games and with two minutes to go last week we looked in trouble — we were under pressure and becoming increasingly erratic.
“There was a time out and we went back onto the court and regained our composure, converted those last two shots.
“That was a huge win given the status of Yarrawonga in this competition.”
O’Connell came to Corowa in 2008 at the urgings of then coach Lindy Singleton.
She was assistant coach the following year before taking over the reins in 2010.
“We have come out of that black hole, re-building in recent years after battling with Raiders and Wangaratta for the wooden spoon,” O’Connell said.
“This year we have also picked up Sophie Hanrahan who was the Hume league’s best and fairest last year and is still only 16.
“Her cousins, Simone and Caitlin, play in defence and so she has gone into the goal scoring ring.
“I thought it may take her a little while to adjust to the pace of Ovens and Murray but Sophie already looks at home in the competition.
“Our team is a real family affair with the Svarc sisters, Ruby and Catherine on the wings.”
O’Connell said despite one of the best starts to a season in recent memory the Roos were not getting carried away.
“We trained through the rain on Tuesday night knowing that it will be a tough encounter against Albury,” she said.
“A few of us have been around for a little while and we won’t get carried away off the back of one win — you just can’t expect that we can go out there and it will just happen against Albury.
“The two teams are in similar positions on the ladder and although it is only early in the season a win here could be vital in the latter half of the year.”