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League newcomers excited about future

Development both on and off court for her charges are key goals for the coach of the Beko Netball League’s newest team.

Vicki Morgan admits it has been something of a baptism of fire for her Northern Comets side which head to Christchurch on Sunday to take on Mainland at the Horncastle Arena (live SKY Sport 3 from 4pm).

In other matches, the Northern Marvels take on South in Auckland on Saturday and WBOP open their campaign with a trip to Wellington to play Central.

The Comets had a first-up 11-goal loss to one of the league favourites, Central, but Morgan was pleased with the performance with only the third quarter seeing the scoreline blow-out.

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“We have only had seven trainings together and it was a tough pre-season,” she said. “It was a relief to get that first game out of the way and to see the girls had lifted.”

“There’s no doubt we’ve had our challenges coming together as a brand new Club, sitting under the Northern Stars (ANZ Premiership). But we’re up for challenges and excited about the future.”

She felt they were already a side on the improve after their “links and connections” were missing leading into the league.

For Morgan, however, it was more than just what her players put out on court and she was keen to see the Comets find the right balance with “life and Netball”.

“For me it’s about seeing the growth in the players as a whole…if the results and wins come with that then that’s fantastic.”

She believed the change in rules – with no injury breaks – meant it was crucial for her young group to be able to adjust at any time.

“It’s really important that the players can identify and change on court what needs to be changed without waiting for that direction,” Morgan said. “My approach is a very athlete centred approach with a lot of their input from the girls.”

The Comets have taken time to analyse video footage of their Round 1 loss and their centre pass conversion was an area they hoped to improve against Mainland.

Defender Oceane Maihi got her hand to plenty of ball against Central with 11 deflections and three intercepts and faces the task of shutting down tall Mainland shooter Ellie Bird – sister of Chiefs rugby player Dominic Bird.

Mainland goal attack Cait Dowden will be another to watch as a key playmaker up front for the hosts.

The Beko Netball League is a double round-robin run over 13 weekends with the Grand Final to be played in Auckland on June 18.