Central hope to have dispelled any sense of complacency when they take on Waikato Bay of Plenty in the second round of the Beko Netball League in Porirua on Sunday.
The Wellington-based team secured a handy-enough 66-55 win in their season-opener but it took until a forceful third quarter to turn the game their way. Successful personnel changes, a lift in shooting percentages and scoring from turnovers were all pleasing aspects as the game progressed, Central coach Natalie Milicich now looking to add the polish.
``We did have quite a good pre-season and I think we took that for granted a little bit and went into that first game a little bit complacent, so that reminded us that we need to work really hard from the start and that we can’t just get out there and go through the motions,’’ she said.
Playing at home for the first time this season, Central are expecting a robust challenge from Waikato Bay of Plenty, who did not play last weekend.
``They’re a strong man-to-man side,’’ Milicich said. ``We played them in the pre-season so we are aware of the style that they’ll bring and looking forward to the match-up.
``We had a good win against them in the pre-season but they did make lots of changes and they did have some injury concerns at the time. So, we shouldn’t read too much into that because they’ll come out firing with it being their first game.’’
Already having a game under their belts could work in Central’s favour as Waikato Bay of Plenty look to settle into competition mode.
``I think it is helpful that we’ve had a game because there’s always first match jitters and it did take us a little bit of time to settle in our opener,’’ Milicich said.
Executing their ball placement with more precision, better decision-making under pressure and a stronger team defensive effort are areas of improvement the coach is looking for from Central.
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. Central finished runners-up in last year’s inaugural competition.