Netball fans lost their collective minds at the welcome sight of an unlikely hero during the pre-season Team Girls Cup.
The three-day netball extravaganza that is the Team Girls Cup is in full swing this weekend and it’s not just the players who are enjoying their first hit out of the year.
The pre-season tournament taking place in Melbourne gives all eight teams get a chance to blood new players and try different combinations ahead of the Super Netball season, which gets underway next month.
Watch every game of the 2022 Suncorp Team Girls Cup Netball Pre-Season Live & Free on Kayo Freebies 25-27 Feb. Join free now and start streaming instantly >
Sunshine Coast Lightning rookie Reilley Batcheldor impressed on Friday during the Lightning’s thrilling 43-43 draw with defending Super Netball champions the NSW Swifts.
Coming off the bench, Batcheldor finished with 13 goals from 14 attempts including two long range supershots, which are worth two points each.
The 19-year-old is yet to make her Super Netball debut but is now all but certain to be a regular for the Lightning this season.
Another shooter impressed in Saturday’s action, as Donnell Wallam stole the show for the Queensland Firebirds in their win over the Lightning with two supershots in the space of 20 seconds.
Wallam is training and playing with the Lightning on a trial basis but the Queensland-based outfit would be foolish not to give her a full-time contract based on the promising signs she has shown.
But it wasn’t just some emerging stars that fans were loving. Several games were interrupted when the umpire and players called for sweat that had dripped onto the court to be wiped off.
A court attendant rushed onto the court twice during the game between the West Coast Fever and Thunderbirds to mop up the sweat.
It may be common in the NBA for a mop to be used when players fall over but the sight of the Super Netball’s official Sabco mop was met with huge cheers by players and the fans.
It’s the first year a mop has been used following many years of players and officials having to get down on their hands and knees to scrub the sweat off the court with a towel.
Fever’s Chelseas Pitman was so keen to give the mop ago she took it out of the attendant’s hands and gave the court a vigorous scrub where she had fallen over.
“There’s the Sabco mop!,” Australian netball legend Cath Cox exclaimed in commentary on Fox Netball.
“Doesn’t the crowd love it already. Gets one of the biggest cheers of the day doesn’t it when it comes out. So much so it’s coming back.
“There’ll be no more people on the ground with towels.”
Each of the eight teams will play two more games on Sunday, with the Team Girls Cup to culminate in a finals session on Sunday afternoon.
Team Girls Cup Saturday results
West Coast Fever defeated Adelaide Thunderbirds 40-28
Collingwood Magpies defeated GWS Giants 48-38
Sunshine Coast Lightning defeated Queensland Thunderbirds 50-45
Melbourne Vixens defeated Sydney Swifts 32-36