Tamara Skinner helping Shepparton United to successful season

By Tyler Maher

Tamara Skinner’s goal to test herself at the Goulburn Valley League netball level has been Shepparton United’s gain this season.

The Demons acquired Skinner’s services to strengthen their attacking end and sit six points clear atop the competition’s table.

United is also clearly the most adept scoring side in the league, with its 709 goals for streets ahead of second-ranked Shepparton Swans with 624.

Skinner has been a Numurkah stalwart and well-decorated Murray Netball League star for years, but moving back to Shepparton provided her with an opportunity she could not pass up.

‘‘I was at Numurkah and this year the family moved back to Shepp, so if I wanted to do it it was probably now or never,’’ Skinner said.

‘‘I’ve always been very close to trying and it hasn’t sort of worked out, especially with moving away for seven years.

‘‘It is a lot faster and it was a bit full on to start with, I injured my ankle about three weeks out from the season, but it’s been really great.

‘‘Tan (Demons coach Tania Orchard) got in contact with me at the end of last year, I was still sort of sitting on the fence about whether I should just have a year off or not.

‘‘I trialed and absolutely loved it, the girls have been great.’’

While Skinner, 32, has enjoyed the standard of GVL netball, she has also fitted in well at Deakin Reserve, especially alongside long-time rival Jessie Barnes in the goal circle.

‘‘I’ve been really impressed with the younger girls,’’ Skinner said.

‘‘I’m sort of at the older end of the scale, but it’s a really good mix and everyone’s got each other’s backs.

‘‘It’s good to play with Jessie now rather than against her, we’re a similar age, so we’ve been playing against each other since juniors.

‘‘It’s taken me a little bit to adjust, especially after the injury, but the combinations have really settled down now a lot more and every week (my role) is getting a bit easier.’’

Skinner’s efforts will be key for the Demons as they chase their first A-grade premiership since 2014, with this year’s finals series looking likely to balance on a knife’s edge.