By Michael Roberts | posted on August 20, 2020
ROYALS Saints made a big statement in their top-of-the-table clash with Railways on Saturday, finishing eight-point winners in front of a boisterous crowd at Albany Leisure and Aquatic Centre.
Both teams were undefeated heading into Round 5 of the Albany Netball Association A1 season.
But it was Royals Saints who started the better of the two sides, opening up a nine-goal lead at the end of the second period.
Nardia Humphries was lethal in front of goal for Royals, while her sister Narelle Humphries led from the front in defence.
Railways weren’t going to make it easy for the reigning premiers though, and lifted their intensity and attack on the ball in a highly entertaining third quarter of end-to-end netball.
Kiera Stephen and Hollee Siviour held strong in the back half for Railways, while shooter Mikaila Kowald found her radar as the underdogs got back into the contest.
Royals held a slender four-point lead at the final break and it was anyone’s match for the taking.
But an injury to Kowald early in the fourth period sucked all the life out of Railways and they were unable to recover as Nardia Humphries put her opposition to the sword.
Narelle Humphries said she had expected the top-of-the-table clash to be a tighter contest.
“I expected Railways to bring a bit more fight, but they just didn’t seem like they wanted to be there,” she said.
“They have been playing well in previous games.”
Humphries said her team was more consistent across the four quarters.
“Our strength was we kept our cool,” she said.
“We didn’t rush anything. I felt like they rushed and wanted to get it down to the shooters.”
Speaking with the Weekender after her team’s loss, Railways Coach Richelle Warran said Kowald’s fourth quarter injury was a big turning point.
“I think that unsettled our team at the wrong time when she came off,” she said.
“She injured her shoulder but she will be okay for this week.”
In her first year leading Railways, Warran said her team needed a bit more time to gel together coming off a shortened preseason.
“We’ve got five new players, but they are slotting in well,” she said.
“Being a short season they haven’t had a lot of time to play together.
“It was a great game. Royals had to fight hard for the win. They got a few more turnovers from us. We just have to be harder at the ball and play it out.”