Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

300 games for Tongala veteran

Tracey Hughes will play her 300th game for Tongala on Saturday.

GEORDIE COWAN May 31, 2014 3:25am

Tracey Hughes with her daughter Ella. Photo submitted

Twenty-one years after running out onto the court for her first senior netball game for Tongala, Tracey Hughes will do it for the 300th time tomorrow.

Not only is it a fantastic achievement to reach such a milestone, all 300 games have been in the Blues’ A grade side.

Since making her debut aged 15, doing her apprenticeship in the goal ring under Michelle Mulholland, Hughes has been a constant force in the Blues’ attack except for four years in two spells at Kyabram.

‘‘It’s just what we did. Me and Alicia Brennan all started off in A grade (when they debuted as teenagers),’’ Hughes said.

She rates her three premierships as the highlights of her career, while she has also claimed a best and fairest award at each of Tongala and Kyabram.

Hughes thought the club had become more family-oriented since she first started.

‘‘Since we joined the Murray league, we’ve had more junior sides,’’ she said.

‘‘It’s one of the biggest changes I’ve noticed.

‘‘The other thing is the standard of netball.

‘‘When I first moved from the Goulburn Valley to the Murray there was a big difference, but I think the Murray has picked up a lot.’’

Hughes, who lives in Tongala and works in Kyabram, said Tongala was a friendly club and had enjoyed playing alongside many friends and family.

‘‘It’s just where I’ve grown up and where I’ve played,’’ she said.

After a fantastic season last year, where the Blues lost the grand final by one goal, Hughes thought the team was stronger again in 2014.

‘‘Last year Caddi Mulholland was also in under 17s and her main focus is A grade now, while picking up Pam Virgo from Moama has been a huge bonus for us,’’ she said.

The Blues host Mulwala in a top-of-the-table clash tomorrow, with Tongala looking to move further ahead at the top of the ladder.

It is a big weekend for milestones in the Murray Netball League, with Finley’s Karen Donkin — who is also the secretary of the league — playing her 400th senior game for the club at home against Barooga tomorrow.

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