SECOND SEMI-FINAL – MILLCIENT v WEST GAMBIER
WEST Gambier will look to test itself against reigning premier Millicent tomorrow in the Western Border netball second semi-final at Blue Lake Sports Park, with the winner to advance straight through to the season decider.
Every match up will be critical, with both sides having strong defensive mechanisms in place.
West prefers to use long drives and speed of ball in their approach to the shooting circle, so the match looms as a test of patience for both offensive lines.
Saint Hayley Dunn will take on Tahlia Earl and look to quell the strong holds and well timed rolls from the West shooter.
In her first A Grade finals series Madi Haggett has a huge job as she looks to limit the influence of West playmaker and star goaler Lisa McGregor.
Haggett and Dunn have started to form a good understanding and Haggett’s work over the shot and rebounding ability will be critical.
Hannah Nitschke will take on Jordan Freeman, the latter another teenager in her first A Grade final and the two are well matched.
The mid-court battle pits two of the class players of the competition, with Lisa Duldig going head-to-head with Emily Hunter.
Hunter has been the recruit of the year and her strong driving, feeding and defensive efforts will be pivotal, while Duldig is hard running and never lets her opponent earn easy ball.
Paige Nitschke will start on the attacking wing for the Saints, taking on the tight-checking Carly Trevilyan.
Her vision into the circle is outstanding, but she will need to work hard to find the circle’s edge as Trevilyan never gives opponents easy passage.
Amy Cram has one of the big jobs on court as she looks to slow down Demi Verbena, who uses her pace and long-range shooting to great effect.
Maddy Teakle has a huge job of her own as she looks to deny Donna Denton the chance to dominate the contest.
She will need to be at her tight-checking best, working hard over the shot and rebounding any rare missed opportunities.
Lucy Denton gives the Saints some X factor too, with her ability to be fresh legs in any of the mid court roles.
It will all come down to the start.
If the Roos can stay with the Saints it could be interesting, but if the Saints get off to a flier, it will be a long day at the office for West.
FIRST SEMI-FINAL – EAST GAMBIER v NORTH GAMBIER
THINGS are always a little more tense when it is a knockout final, so the Western Border netball first semi-final clash between bitter rivals
East Gambier and North Gambier at McDonald Park on Sunday looms as a physical challenge.
All eyes will be on the Tenille Gray/Noni McConnell battle, which will be one of the most pivotal on court.
Gray had a quieter opening half than usual at the weekend, but bounced back strongly.
McConnell will look to wear the star East goaler like a glove, but Gray is nothing if not composed under pressure and having stepped into the coaching role this season, has also been a strong leader on court.
Tarsh McCallum’s battle through the middle with North’s strongest leader Mel Renko will be another intriguing duel.
Renko has moved into the centre to give some direction to the
Tigers transition play and her ability to create turnover ball will be critical.
McCallum has had another stellar season with her hard running in attack and the defensive combination she has put together with wing defender Tyne Bosko.
Bosko will take on Ash Kalantarian who has relished the return to wing attack and her vision and creative feeding make her a dangerous
North’s shooting combination of Alisha Bryan and Sarah Nulty has continued to develop and Jacinta Clark and Morgan Amy will need to work well as a team in the defensive circle to shut down the options.
Clark and Amy will dominate the rebounding duels, so accuracy for the Tigers will be critical, as it will at the other end of the court, with Maddie Whaites one of the strongest rebounders in the competition.
Whaites will take on young shooter Sara Smith in an interesting duel which will go a long way to deciding the match.
Smith moves well, has a great understanding with Gray and she is confident on the shot.
Whaites has been a standout for the Tigers and if they need a turnover she can usually provide.
North has not beaten a high-ranked opponent, but has not been out of the contest with the likes of East and West throughout the 2019 Western Border season.
However, you would expect the Bulldogs to advance from the tight and physical contest to take on the loser of Millicent and West Gambier in the preliminary final.