Early chance at supremacy

East v West Gambier football & Netball

ROLE TO PLAY: Amy Cram will play a crucial role in the match of the Western Border netball round when West Gambier play host to East Gambier tomorrow. Picture: FRANK MONGER

West Gambier v East Gambier

WITH finals a month away, the clash between West Gambier and East Gambier at Malseed Park is clearly the match of the Western Border netball round.

The tally sits at one-all and both clubs will face off in the first semi final so this shapes as a critical clash.

West will hope to bring its first half form from the weekend to the clash.

The Roos were clinical, both with relentless defensive pressure and precise, quick ball movement in attack.

If West starts with that focus and commitment, it will have East under pressure from the get-go.

Jess Bell continues to impress with her work at both ends of the court, while Carlee Davey also showed glimpses of her best form.

The Roos’ feeders hit the circle hard and found Lisa McGregor and Tahlia Earl with ease.

McGregor was outstanding – not just in her work rate, but also her accuracy – netting 48-from-51 – in an ominous sign for the Bulldogs.

It is crucial East limits her scoring opportunities.

Bo Creek will have that job and her speed, strength in the air and strong work over the shot will challenge the star Roos goal attack.

Earl also showed good form in the last round and her battle with Morgan Amy will be one of the most critical on court.

The Bell-Tarsh McCallum match up will also be huge, with both players being the key feeders for their respective sides and they are well matched with pace and smarts.

Tyne Bosko and Sara Smith should have a good tussle as two of the competition’s young guns look to establish their reputations in senior company.

The other massive battle of the day is veteran Roos defender Amy Cram, who is coming off a strong performance against South, taking on star East goaler Tenille Gray, who was clearly best on court in her side’s massive win over the Cats last weekend.

The Roos’ other problem is the form of Sarah Lock who had an especially strong second half at the weekend, meaning Maddy Teakle and Cram will have to work hard to deny easy ball for the Bulldogs shooters.

Gray has worked much higher up the court in 2018 and uses her good timing to drive to the post.

She is also impressively accurate, meaning if she gets too much ball, the Bulldogs will post a winning score.

Lock’s ability to create space for Gray and her willingness to take and convert the long range shots means she can not be ignored.

The fact East is coming off a four-quarter effort and the Roos had a third quarter lapse against South, tips the scales in the Bulldogs’ favour in a tight contest.

South Gambier v North Gambier

SOUTH Gambier had a disappointing first half against West Gambier at the weekend and will look to rectify that kind of start against North Gambier in Round 13 of Western Border netball tomorrow.

The bad news for the Demons is, the Tigers will aim to rebound from their own disappointing opening quarter against the Saints last round.

Still tinkering with their mid court, North has quality options everywhere you look – the pace and work rate of Amanda O’Shaughnessy, the versatility and smarts of Ash Kalantarian, the strength on the drive of Kaitlin Egan and the speed and athleticism of Emily Close.

Lauren Duncan and Imogen Walker will have the task of working their way through that mid court, while doubt lingers over the fitness of wing defender Tori McIntyre, which could see Talyssa Watts, Isabel Redemski or Brandi Bouchier could get the call up to fill a role.

The Demons will welcome back Georgia Hood into the shooting circle and she will need to work the front cut hard and bring her trade mark long range accuracy to keep Jordyn Adams busy and give shooting partner Tilah Buckingham the benefit of a one-on-one contest with Maddie Whaites.

Adams and Whaites continue to build a good understanding and both have the ability to play one on one defence as well as love hunting the interception and Adams, in particular, will pounce on any ill advised feeds or cross court delivery from her former team mates.

Alyssa Boylan and Zoe Duncan have the tough task of denying Caroline Davey and Ellie Gould easy possession and while much will rely on the mid court pressure applied by the Demons, the Demons defensive duo will have to work together to shut down space.

Gould is coming off a high scoring effort against North Gambier and she continues to use strong drives into the circle to break up defensive structure and open up opportunities for herself or Davey.

Davey is coming off a lower output than she has enjoyed in the past month and it would be unusual for her to be as quiet this weekend.

The problem with denying Davey opportunity is she is as confident from long range as she is at the post.

McIntyre has tackled the tall shooter before, which would free Zoe Duncan up to take on the dangerous Egan, but McIntyre is battling a ankle injury and may not take the court.

Much like the Cats against the Saints, this will be about limiting scoreboard damage for the Demons.

Millicent v Casterton Sandford

IT has been a tough season for Casterton Sandford and it will only get harder when the Cats travel to take on top-ranked Millicent in Round 13 of Western Border netball this weekend.

The Saints again look a class above in season 2018 and will hope to continue their dominance as the business end of the season approaches.

Demi Verbena and Donna Denton have been scoring at will and working well as a combination to find good shooting position.

Lisa Duldig has been as reliable as ever and with a niggly knee injury on the improve, her form will only get better.

The star mid courter has had an impact in both the middle and on the attacking wing and has found especially good connection with Verbena.

Paige Nitschke has spent plenty of time at wing attack, especially in the past two rounds with her sister Hannah Nitschke sidelined with injury.

Paige has shown great composure, hitting the circle hard and delivering the ball with precision into her goalers, while at the other end of the court, Madi Turner, Kimmi Varcoe and Hayley Dunn

are coming off a smothering performance against second-ranked North Gambier.

The defensive trio’s performance ensures the Cats forward line will be in for a tough day in terms of scoring.

Abbey Shannon has been outstanding for the Cats and could well still be around to take on a defensive role this weekend.

Her combination with Sharna Fidler is tenacious and tight checking and they will certainly do their best to deny Verbena and Denton easy ball.

That, of course, relies on some defensive pressure up the court.

Ellen Bowman is more than capable of achieving that task, coming of her best game for 2018.

She will put hands pressure over the ball and stick tight in attempt to deny the Saints mid courters clear passage to the circle.

Gaby Tomkins has been in good for as well, since returning form her injury lay off, while doubt surrounds Tori Perry, who was a late withdrawal last weekend, with Christine Harris a week-by-week proposition as well.

Along with Shannon, Madalene Cleary has been the other consistent quality performer for the Cats, having played in all areas of the court in 2018.

However, she will no doubt need to remain in the shooting circle this weekend where she will need to use all the tricks in the book to find good space against Varcoe and Dunn.

It will be all about minimising scoreboard damage for the Cats, while the Saints will no doubt run a couple of combinations to continue fine-tuning ahead of the finals.