Bulldogs bite back last minute in round eight thriller

East V North Gambier Football & Netball TBW Newsgroup
VERSATILE: Sara Smith had a versatile job on Saturday when East Gambier hosted North Gambier at McDonald Park in round eight of Western Border netball. Picture: FRANK MONGER

East V North Gambier Football & Netball TBW Newsgroup
VERSATILE: Sara Smith had a versatile job on Saturday when East Gambier hosted North Gambier at McDonald Park in round eight of Western Border netball.


ANOTHER week saw another new-look line-up for North Gambier in a tough contest with East Gambier at McDonald Park on Saturday.

The round eight Western Border netball clash saw Ash Kalantarian start at goal attack, Claire Day on the defensive wing and Mel Renko in the centre.

Early on, it looked a master stroke, with the Tigers dominating the opening minutes to set up a six-nil opening run.

But the Bulldogs lifted the intensity, started to work harder and by the first break enjoyed a one-goal lead.

Maddie Whaites was a key part of the early Tigers lead with her ability to take a couple of interceptions when the Bulldogs looked to move the ball cross court in the goal third.

In the second quarter, Whaites moved out to goal defence, perhaps hoping her extra height would make life tougher for Tenille Gray, with coach Noni McConnell back to keeper.

East shooter Brittany Ross was forced from the court with the blood rule, with the Bulldogs opting to move Sara Smith into the shooting role and leave the wing attack role vacant for a couple of minutes before Ross was able to return to the court.

With Tarsh McCallum and Morgan Amy getting some critical touches at the defensive transverse line and Gray and Smith converting accurately, the Bulldogs worked their way to a four-goal half-time advantage.

The Tigers swung the changes at the main break and Caroline Davey made a surprise return to the court in the goal attack role, alongside the always reliable Alisha Bryan.

Kalantarian moved back to centre, Renko to wing defence and McConnell and Whaites back to their starting positions.

East, on the other hand, opted to keep Smith and Ross in their new roles and Ross’s strength in the air and ability to hold space started to become problematic for the Tigers, while Gray continued to be damaging.

Davey and Bryan converted accurately to keep the Tigers well in the hunt but in the end, East still enjoyed a five-goal buffer going into the last quarter.

Tyne Bosko started to become a factor in the third term as she created critical turnover ball.

But the Tigers were far from done and they opened the last quarter with the first four goals to bring the match back to a goal-for-goal arm wrestle.

However, the Bulldogs again lifted, with Bosko continuing to find important touches and Jacinta Clark making it tough for the Tigers feeders to find their goalers in good space.

In the end, it was a six goal victory for East, with Gray again dominant, while Clark was also influential.

Renko and Brown were best for the Tigers, who would have been buoyed by being well in the contest for the entire four quarters.


WEST Gambier showed its dominance over South Gambier in round eight of Western Border netball on Saturday.

Both sides were undermanned, but in the end it was the Roos who cashed in on a lightning start to secure an impressive 48-goal victory at Blue Lake Sports Park.

The Demons were missing five players – three away and two on the injured list – while West had key defender Maddy Teakle still overseas and Carlee Ransom on the injury list.

West had 11 goals on the board before the shell-shocked Demons scored.

Tahlia Earl and Lisa McGregor found good space in the circle and if they had finished more accurately the scoreline, which was 20-3 at the first break, may well have been even more lopsided.

West generated 31 scoring shots to South’s five in a sign of things to come for the Demons.

South had five players on the court who had already played A Reserve, with only Imogen Walker, Riley Buckingham and Tori McIntyre remaining from the usual starting seven.

The second quarter was more of the same as West powered to a 34-7 half time score.

Amy Cram created turnover ball at will in the defensive goal third for the Roos, while Emily Hunter was not only earning important defensive touches, but was driving hard through the midcourt and hitting the circle hard, feeding the ball with precision into Earl and McGregor.

The third quarter was the best for the home side, adding nine goals to their total as Jess Earle started to work her way into the game with eight from 12 for the quarter.

But nine from 10 from Earl and another strong quarter from McGregor saw the three quarter time score sit at 52-16.

The final term saw South starved of opportunity thanks to the continued intercepting power of Amy Cram, while Nikeisha Facey also started to get her hands on plenty of ball and South only generated six scoring shots for the quarter.

West had plenty of scoring opportunities and again, was it not for some inaccuracy, the final scoreline of 69-21 could well have been worse.

Mikaela Horrigan made the most of her call up to the A Grade line-up at wing attack and she delivered some wonderful balls into Earl.

Cram was impassable in the defensive third and Lisa McGregor did a mountain of work outside the circle as well as combining well with Earl.

Walker worked overtime to try and create opportunities for South and she shot at 100pc for three of the four quarters, while Isabel Redemski ran hard all day and Ella McIntyre had some critical touches in defence.

But in the end, the Demons’ makeshift combination was no match for the well-drilled Roos, who continue to look like the most likely contender to unseat the


THE writing was on the wall fairly early when Casterton Sandford hosted reigning premier Millicent in round eight of Western Border netball on Saturday.

Conceding the first 13 goals of the match, the Cats were soon on the back foot at Island Park.

The defensive efforts of Saints Hayley Dunn, Madi Haggett, Lisa Duldig at wing defence and Hannah Nitschke in centre stifled the Cats forward line and they could not find a way to goal, while

Millicent transitioned with its trademark speed and scored at will as Demi Verbena and Paige Nitschke took on the starting shooting positions, with Donna Denton on the bench.

It was all about the Saints in the opening quarter and with neither side making changes at the first break, the second quarter was more of the same.

Both sides swung the changes at the main break.

The Cats switched their goalies with Christine Harris moving under the post and Tori Perry out to goal attack.

Gaby Tomkins came from the bench to take the centre bib, while starting centre Madalene Cleary went to goal defence, with Sharna Fidler moving back to goal keeper.

The Saints brought Denton into goal shooter, moved Paige Nitschke to goal attack, Verbena to wing attack, Duldig to centre, Lucy Denton to wing defence, Hannah Nitschke to goal defence, Haggett to keeper and Dunn to the bench.

The Cats certainly had a stronger second half thanks mainly to the hard running and accurate feeding of Gabby Sullivan and the strong finishing and work rate of Perry.

They turned the ball over less with Dunn away from the court, but Haggett still secured her share of turnover ball and was still a rebounding threat for the Saints.

Millicent enjoyed quick and accurate ball movement despite shaking up the attacking end of the court, with Verbena and Duldig two of the more consistent performers, while Paige Nitschke was arguably Millicent’s best with her composure and accurate finishing in the shooting circle.

As the Cats still continue to tinker with their line-up, it is not surprising they would struggle against the well drilled Saints, who continue to put out a number of combinations without losing any impact on the scoreboard.