Another feather in Rebecca Piazza’s cap

Rebecca Piazza says developing the juniors has been the secret to the Saints’ strength. Picture: JOHN RUSSELL

Rebecca Piazza says developing the juniors has been the secret to the Saints’ strength. Picture: JOHN RUSSELL

TONI Wilson medallist, premiership player, Ovens and Murray team of the decade member and now a 300-gamer.

Myrtleford’s Rebecca Piazza will take to the court in her milestone game against Corowa-Rutherglen on Saturday, still with half an eye on the finals.

The Saints sit seventh, eight points out of the five, but are about to play the two teams directly above them.

“We are getting it together at the right end of the season,” Piazza said.

“There is still a glimmer of hope when it comes to finals, starting with Corowa-Rutherglen this week.”

Piazza joined the Ovens and Murray club as a rangy 14-year-old, the youngest in her C-grade team.

By 2002, she had won the B-grade best and fairest award for the competition on the way to also playing in a winning grand final with the A-grade team.

The 181-centimetre goal shooter said the challenge for the netball club in small towns was similar to that of football teams.

“We don’t have the numbers the Albury and Wod- onga clubs have to choose from,” she said.

“But we have a group of girls who have stuck with the club — Janelle McMasters, Kelly Jackson, Andrea Grant and now Jaclyn McAlpine is back — and all have played a lot of Ovens and Murray netball.

“We also have great junior coaches developing the young talent.

“This year alone we have seen Georgia Zamperoni, Celestine Ellen and, just last weekend Tara Monshing who have made their A grade debuts.”

Piazza, who missed the start of the season to have a child, said the emergence of talented youngsters had been a highlight this year.

“I started at 14 and was always tall so that was an advantage,” she said.

“I don’t know whether it is the result of the under-16 competition or the Ovens and Murray becoming more professional, but these girls are competitive from the time they come into A-grade and are very difficult to match.”

Piazza said the support of the Myrtleford netball family, along with her own, had helped her reach the 300-game milestone.

“My mum, Mandy Morrison, drove me to about 200 of those games,” she said.

“We were also lucky to have Matt Koers here as a coach.

“I think he’s the only male netball coach to have been involved in the Ovens and Murray. He was a great influence on my game.”

We are getting it together at the right end of the season. There is still a glimmer of hope when it comes to finals starting with Corowa-Rutherglen this week. REBECCA PIAZZA

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