21 Aug Wildcats, Cougars and Jets impress in HART Sapphire Series season opener
Reigning HART Sapphire Series Champions the Wildcats have kicked off their premiership defence in style with an impressive 6 goal victory over USC Thunder in their first outing of the 2020 season.
The Wildcats were one of three winners in the opening round at Nissan Arena, with 2019 Runners Up Brisbane North Cougars accounting for local rivals Carina Leagues Club Tigers 59 -34, and Jets Netball proving too strong for the Bond University Bull Sharks with a 20 goal victory.
The Cougars were dominant from the opening centre pass, with midcourter Maddie Hinchliffe’s commitment to an intense fitness program over the COVID break reaping early rewards.
Cougars shooter Mia Stower was also in impressive form, as she displayed the new level her game has gone to courtesy of time spent in the Queensland Firebirds squad across the opening rounds of the Suncorp Super Netball season.
Cougars Head Coach, Liz White, said her side still had plenty of room for improvement despite an impressive first hit out of the season.
“It was a really encouraging start when you consider that was our first game of competitive netball since last season,” White said.
“We got a great indication of where we are at and the areas we need to focus our energies on improving, particularly our consistency.”
“I was really pleased though with our younger players taking their opportunities off the bench and showing that they deserve a spot at this level.”
Jets were dominant in their 2019 semi-final rematch, racing out to an early lead against a talented young Bull Sharks team on the rise.
The experience and long-term combinations at the core of the Ipswich side were the difference throughout the contest, as the Jets put on a clinical display of netball.
The final game of the opening round proved to be the best, with a number of Suncorp Super Netball players on show for both the Wildcats and Thunder.
Thunder Shooter Annabelle Lawrie was instrumental in her team’s fightback from an early deficit but the class of the reining Premiers, led by Captain and Queensland Firebirds Training Partner Hulita Veve, proved insurmountable as the Wildcats got their title defence off to the best possible start.
Round 2 of the 2020 HART Sapphire and Ruby Series’ gets underway on Sunday 23 August at Nissan Arena from 3:00pm, with tickets starting from just $10.
A LIVE stream of all 3 games will also be available on the HART Sapphire Series Facebook page.