Warriors take bragging rights in Northern Derby

The West Coast Warriors have taken early bragging rights in what’s shaping as an exciting rivalry with fellow northern corridor team, the Curtin Hamersley Comets.

The Warriors were relentless in dispatching the Comets to the tune of 36 goals in an impressive performance, despite missing key players in Natalie Bright and Jess Eales through Western Sting duties.

Exciting defender Chelsea Bartlett was given the nod at Goal Keeper for the Comets, with Tracey Swami starting at Goal Attack.

Bartlett and Warriors shooter Donelle Wallam had an enthralling battle on the court, with Bartlett earning a number of tips and interceptions, despite Wallam ultimately taking bragging rights with a best on court performance shooting 63 goals at 94% accuracy.

It was goal for goal early on, before the Warriors forced some late turnovers in the opening quarter to lead by seven goals at quarter time.

The Comets managed to pull the margin back to five goals early in the second term, before a Helen Taylor intercept swung momentum back to the Warriors, and pushed the margin to 10 goals at the major break.

Comets Head Coach Alexis Stevens injected young gun Toni-Marie Smith into the game in the third quarter, however she had little impact and was replaced by Ellie Sanzone half way through the term.

Warriors defender Stephanie Cooper started to assert her authority on the game, earning a number of intercepts which were capitalised on by Wallam at the other end.

Barlett and former Australian Netball League player, Mia Henderson, appeared to be strongest defensive combination for the Comets, but it was no match for the height of Wallam.

The Comets managed just six goals from nine attempts in the third quarter, while the Warriors piled on 21 goals of their own to lead by 25 goals at the final change.

Both sides made a number of changes to start the final stanza, however, the Comets didn’t hit the scoreboard until the halfway mark of the term, as they managed just seven goals at 59% accuracy.

Warriors Head Coach Lorraine Ward said they had an emphasis on gaining more ball.

“We were quite low in our defensive gains last week and our conversion on long court was just ordinary,” Ward said.

“We needed for our own mindset to be a bit more ruthless and pick up those loose balls and put pressure on them.”

“We weren’t as good at the start as we would have liked, but we built into it.”

Ward praised her towering shooter, Wallam.

“The best thing about her is that she loves to be on the court,” she said.

“She’s still learning, and we’re still learning, too. Warriors haven’t had a tall shooter for quite a while, it’s generally been more of a moving circle, so it is taking us some time.”

“Nelly is someone who loves the game, she’s soaking up everything we’re giving her, and her footwork is improving as well.”

Despite a clinical performance, Ward said there was still room for improvement.

“Defensively I think we can still take it up a notch and get some more systems in that.”

“Nelly could also be a weapon in that area as well. Attacking wise, we still haven’t hit our stride in that.”

The Warriors now have a week off, while the Comets take on the ladder-leading Western Roar.