TOP JOB: Claws player Courtney Wheeler during the Brisbane Lions game on Saturday night.
TOP JOB: Claws player Courtney Wheeler during the Brisbane Lions game on Saturday night. Chris Ison Rokcclaws

Vice-captain Wheeler puts claws into Townsville Cats

THE Rockhampton Claws have made a winning start to the 2016 season, led by vice-captain Courtney Wheeler.

They scored two convincing wins in the opening rounds of the Queensland State Netball League beating Townsville Steel Cats and Wide Bay Thunder Cats in Brisbane at the weekend.

Emerald centre Wheeler was named player of the match, voted for by the match official.

She said it was great to start the year so well and was impressed with how well the new players settled in.

"We played really well, we were a bit nervous with a new team but did really well," Wheeler said.

"We all got plenty of time on the court and play high-level netball.

"It was physical and faster with the new rules but thanks to our great pre-season we were ready.

"The young girls stepped up really well, especially Emerald girl Tori Rouse who got a call-up. She really impressed me."

Coach Katrina Whitham was keen to bring young blood into the Claws' ranks this year and said the team boasted a good blend of youth and experience.

"It is good to see the young ones coming through," she said.

"They certainly held their own this weekend but they now realise how tough it is at the next level."

Whitham took a squad of 12 to Brisbane for the double header but said she would take only 10 to Bundaberg for the clash with the Whitsunday Sharks in a fortnight's time.

"I have some hard decisions to make," she said.

"We just need to continue building as a team and working to ensure the players gel on court."


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