Double Redleg celebration

August 10, 2017

Bec Humphrey and Fiona Down work together closely on the netball court and the Tallygaroopna stars will each bring up game number 300 on Saturday.

Tallygaroopna stalwarts Fiona Down and Bec Humphrey will each bring up 300 games for the club on Saturday. Both have children at each match and are pictured with Down's daughters Harper, 3, Meiah, 11 months, and Tayah, 5.

There will be 600 reasons to celebrate during Tallygaroopna’s A-grade match against Nagambie on Saturday.

Club stalwarts Fiona Down (nee Hosie) and Bec Humphrey (nee Brett) each bring up game 300 in the same week having spent most of their playing careers together.

Down began her time at the Redlegs a year before Humphrey, but the pair will reach the milestone together after Down missed last year with pregnancy.

Both experienced players know each other’s game well.

With Humphrey a brilliant goaler and Down a smart midcourt player, there has been plenty of solid teamwork feeding around the circle.

‘‘It’s really good having Fi, she’s a great player and reads the play really well and makes me look good,’’ Humphrey said.

Tallygaroopna is the most efficient attacking team in the competition this year, having scored 136 more goals than the next best in the competition, which also happens to be Saturday’s opponent.

The Lakers are a side the Redlegs will need to find a way to beat as both players are gunning for a grand final appearance.

‘‘To be able to win an A-grade premiership would be great, I haven’t done that yet,’’ Down said.

‘‘We’ve got a good bunch of girls who are versatile, so if we keep going strong and keep up the momentum and our game plan (we’re heading in the right direction), we’ve got our fingers crossed.’’

Down has won B-grade premierships in 2003, 2005 and 2008 — with the first a stand out.

Having been defeated against Lancaster during the season, the Redlegs comprehensively took care of the Wombats in the final match of the year as Humphrey also took part in the same game.

But stepping up to play in the A-grade grand final against the same opposition in 2014 would be an entirely different set of emotions.

Humphrey and Down were fixtures in the devastating grand final the Redlegs lost in extra time.

Humphrey has been lucky enough to be involved in a period of success, with an A-grade premiership in 2009, and she won A-grade best-and-fairest awards in 2009 and 2010.

While coaching is not on the cards for Humphrey, Down enjoyed her time as playing coach of B-grade, also leading from the sideline when stepping up a grade.

‘‘I loved being a playing coach, the first year it was a bit of a challenge, but I loved it for some reason, I really loved being able to mentor and direct the girls on court,’’ she said.

In 2010 Down came close to winning a B-grade league medal, leading the count with eight games remaining.

But having been called up to the A-grade team for the final third of the year, she was pipped in the final round of the season.

‘‘I fluctuated between both grades, I was predominantly B-grade for a little while, but I was always the player that got taken up a grade if they needed to call on someone, more often than not it’s pregnancies more so than injuries at Tally,’’ Down said with a laugh.

Down’s daughters Tayah, 5, Harper, 3, and Meiah, 11 months, are her biggest supporters, while Humphrey’s children Zahlee, 6, and Tahj, 4, are always at the court cheering their mother on.

●Across the Kyabram District Netball League, Murchison-Toolamba should consolidate a spot in the six with a game against Ardmona, while the seventh-placed Violet Town travels to Avenel.

Girgarre meets Undera, Lancaster hosts Longwood and Stanhope starts favourites against Merrigum in the final match of the round.

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