WEST GAMBIER v MILLICENT
WEST Gambier will host Millicent in a top of the table clash for round 10 of Western Border netball on Saturday.
The Roos will look to challenge the reigning premiers, especially if they welcome back Carlee Ransom from injury, which will provide a full strength line-up to hit the court.
Much of the Roos 2019 success and elevation to second on the ladder has been built on their defensive work, led by Amy Cram.
Her combination with Maddy Teakle is now as good as any in the competition.
Teakle has a great understanding with Cram and the duo often forces the opposition into error with ball in hand.
Carly Trevilyan and Emily Hunter sit out the front of the Roos circle defenders.
Both are tight checking and relentless with their hands pressure and that back four can be relied upon to create turnover ball.
Of course they are set to face the best attack line in the competition with Lisa Duldig, Paige Nitschke, Donna Denton, Demi Verbena and Lucy Denton all boasting great pace, precise ball delivery and understanding.
The battle in the middle between Duldig and Hunter will be a highlight of the match and in the end, the team which best protects possession and hits the scoreboard will win.
If Ransom is back on court, it will be interesting to see if the Roos forward line can generate better ball speed, utilise the strong holds of Tahlia Earl and front cuts of the experienced Lisa McGregor.
Accuracy will also be a key for both team’s goalers as Teakle and Cram are strong rebounders and Madi Haggett and Hayley Dunn rarely concede a second shot.
The Saints back four is also going to test the Roos forward line with Dunn and Haggett starting to work well as a unit.
Hannah Nitschke is a quiet achiever on the defensive wing and she also works well with Duldig on the outside of the circle.
Predicted wet weather would automatically slow the ball movement for both teams, but in the end the ability of the Saints to score and score quickly should see them remain undefeated.
CASTERTON SANDFORD v NORTH GAMBIER
CASTERTON Sandford would dearly love to celebrate the 300th game of club stalwart Madalene Cleary with a win on Saturday.
While not impossible, it will be a tough ask, with North Gambier, albeit still losing at the weekend, starting to challenge the top-ranked teams.
Defensively Maddie Whaites has been a model of consistency and will again be a key.
The tight checking of Noni McConnell and Mel Renko means the Cats forward line will need to be patient with ball in hand.
Gaby Tomkins’ pace and ability to hit the circle’s edge is critical to provide Tori Perry – who has been another of the consistent Cats in 2019 – and Christine Harris enough ball to post a winning score.
Cleary usually lines up in the centre and her battle with Ash Kalantarian will be epic.
Both are athletic and hard running, extremely smart with ball in hand and rarely cough up possession.
The speed of the Tigers frontline when Ellen Brown and Sarah Nulty are on court has given North a new look.
With Alisha Bryan proving a strong target under the post, the Tigers have started to iron out the wrinkles up front.
Caroline Davey is also a possibility to hit the court as she continues her return from injury and that will add to the challenges for the Cats backline.
Sharna Fidler, a tight-checking defender who plays tall despite her slight frame and Marlee Gartlan, who comes off one of her strongest performances for the season last round, will need to be at their best.
They certainly will not have it all their own way.
If the Tigers are looking to build as a genuine contender come finals time, they need to secure the points and will.
SOUTH GAMBIER v EAST GAMBIER
EAST Gambier is quietly moving through the Western Border netball rounds with strong performances.
Despite missing key defender Jacinta Clarke this weekend, the Bulldogs start hot favourites and will look for another convincing victory.
Again, it is anyone’s guess who will suit up for South Gambier, but what you can be sure of is Alyce Pearce-Raisin, Audine Bryant, Tara Bryant and Alyssa Duncan will not be there.
Zoe Duncan is available to take a role, with Riley Buckingham and Tori McIntyre sure to fill a defensive position, perhaps teaming up in the circle, while Imogen Walker will again have to lead the attack line.
The Bulldogs will need to juggle personnel with perhaps Sharna McKinnon taking a defensive role, as she did last time the two teams met.
Tyne Bosko is also an option, although her outstanding form at wing defence over the past month would make the Bulldog coaches wary of moving the teenage defender.
Tarsh McCallum will more than likely be fine to take up her position in the centre, after leaving the court with a head knock in round nine.
Youngster Kate Dempsey and Amryn Bosko, who have both tasted A Grade action this season, could also earn a call up and will no doubt be part of the bench at least.
There are two major issues for the Demons, aside from the fact they will be fielding yet another new look line-up.
That is the relentless defensive pressure the Bulldogs are renowned for applying all down the court – and Tenille Gray.
The star goaler has been unstoppable in season 2019 and she will no doubt have an inexperienced and undersized opponent which will allow her to take advantage of her strength in the air and use her smarts to earn plenty of ball.
Unfortunately you just can not mount a case for the Demons, while the Bulldogs will continue to fine-tune.