EAST Gambier has taken a while to hit its straps in the 2019 Western Border netball season.
It is starting to build nicely now and will face a good test of that development against West Gambier this weekend.
The Roos have clearly been the second-best side in the opening five rounds and were not disgraced against the Saints last week, so it will be just the challenge to measure the Bulldogs’ perceived improvement.
The Roos are arguably the most stable line-up in the competition, with Tahlia Earl and Lisa McGregor lining up for yet another season in goals together and with Carlee Ransom still on the attacking wing, the frontline of the Roos is as slick as ever.
Emily Hunter has taken the centre bib.
Her strong drives and creative feeding has seen her slot right into the Roos line-up and she has also proved to be a defensive asset as well.
Carly Trevilyan has returned with her tight checking defensive work on the wing, as well as the ability to be a key offensive threat through the mid court.
Amy Cram and Maddy Teakle are a well-drilled defensive combination, skilled at forcing opposition forward lines into throwing the ball just where they want it.
For the Bulldogs, Tenille Gray and Tarsh McCallum enter the game off a couple of weeks of outstanding netball and denying those two players too much possession will be top of the Roos’ agenda.
Tyne Bosko, who missed the first couple of rounds, has also been in stellar form and her battle with Ransom will be one of the defining match ups of the game.
Defensively the Bulldogs have had to mix and match a little due to player unavailability, but Morgan Amy and Jacinta Clark will surely get the start.
They will need to work overtime to deny the Roos goalers easy ball, given the ability of both Earl and McGregor to dominate on the hold or use their front cuts to great effect.
Sara Smith spent last round in the shooting circle and was nothing short of impressive, but with the return of Brittany Ross, Smith will move back to the attacking wing.
If she brings the same precision feeds to that role, Gray will earn plenty of scoring opportunities.
It looms as the tightest clash of the round and if Teakle and Cram are at their best, the Roos will win a close one.