With only six rounds of netball to go clubs should by now be looking at settling their teams and combinations ready for finals.
Last week the Mannum netball club suffered two more major injuries to two very promising players, players who’s finals dreams are now gone, well at least for season 2017 that is.
This year we have had some serious injuries throughout seniors and junior grades and the majority have been knees, is there ever going to be a way of preventing these season ending injuries from occurring, one would hope that someday there will be an answer to that question.
We saw some exciting netball last weekend with a couple of games potentially going either way, in particular the Meningie - Mannum game, which for a considerable time in the last quarter went goal for goal.
Ramblers secured a win over Mypolonga which Coach Shirley Hartman would have been happy about.
Tailem Bend have tied again with Mannum on the ladder after defeating Jervois last week, however even with that win their chances of making the final four are fast diminishing.
This week’s three games should not impact on the current final four, except for Meningie having a bye, but with last week’s win they will still hold on to second if even by only one point.
Coach’s tip: Do you have the answers you need? If not, you’d better find them – quick!
Seniors playing times: 12.45pm – B and C grade; 2pm – A grade and B reserves; 3.15pm – A reserves.
Mannum v Mypolonga
Mannum host Mypolonga this week in what should be a good quality showing of skills.
Mannum's Tracey Dabinett has returned to their defence, which has greatly increased Mannum’s opportunities at turning ball over.
If Mannum can get away without putting her back into goals Mypolonga will find their own goal circle an area of concern this week.
The Tigers missed Kate Nolan and Ashley Biddle last week and would be disappointed with the end result.
For now Mypolonga must face Mannum, a team that has had its ups and downs this season with injury affecting the Roos team for a while now.
Mypolonga will have to make sure they maintain control of the ball each and every time they have it in their hands, for any mistakes no matter how minor will be jumped on by the determined Roos team.
Even with four new players in the green and gold, there’s lot of experience and those players are not ready to give the season away.
Nolan’s return means the Tigers’ defence should be back to full strength with combinations that achieve a very good balance, and with every one available coach Cathy Bolt can now concentrate on settling positions.
Mypolonga’s Stacey Kemp has played very well in centre and will have her metal tested again against Mannum’s Deanna Smith this week.
Mypolonga would have lost a lot of defensive drive coming down court last week when Sheridan O’Brien had to go back into goal keeper, that added drive should be back this week to help give the Tiger shooters the extra opportunities they will need, if they want to gain another two points on the premiership table.
This game should be a win to Mypolonga but after last week one has to wonder, are all players going to be front and centre to play? If they are they should come out with the win, but never under-estimate Mannum’s heart and determination.
Ramblers v Jervois
Ramblers this week will host seventh placed Jervois, in what will be a good training run for the red and whites.
I say a training run because Jervois have failed to secure any points so far this season due to injuries, players on holidays and even one or two missing for other sports, however each and every week the players that are there, are ready and willing and go out each and every game to have a go.
They have pushed most other opponents every week, they do not care who they are facing and quite frankly they have nothing to lose.
Ramblers will be feeling confident after beating Mypolonga last week, but they will also be only to aware that the Tigers were not at full strength, if they want to face the mental pressure of finals which are not far away, they will need to not under estimate anyone.
The last time these two teams met Ramblers ran out winners by a significant margin, Jervois coach Tracy Kennett will be looking to reduce that margin, however shooting accuracy is going to be the key.
The Bluds have struggled in goals since losing Courtney Afford after round one and there is a lot of pressure on Emily Hill as the “tall target” in the circle, however some clubs under estimate the impact the fast moving Brianna Burt can also have in the ring, but with only one rebounder compared to Ramblers two, shooting the ball into and through the ring is something that Jervois will need, if they hope to do better than last time.
Ramblers goal circle will be where the Roosters will do the most damage, as goal shooter Tania McFee is one of the most experienced players around as Kylie Mathewson for Jervois will be only too aware of.
McFee brings to her game a lot of style from her years of playing basketball and that shows significantly on the netball court, those quick changes of direction and body holds will be what Mathewson is going to have to minimise if she hopes to stop McFee from gaining possession of the ball.
This game will not be the hardest game this weekend, it may not even be the best game but it will be a game of netball played in all the right spirits and under all the right rules of the game, and yes it should be a win to Ramblers.
Imperials v Tailem Bend
Imperials will host Tailem Bend this week after a two week break from the court.
Therefore all can be assured the Blues will be well and truly ready to play, especially seeing as though next week is another bye for the Blues.
Last time these two teams met Imperials were missing tall shooter Casey Gregory which would have reduced playing options for the Blues coach Carrie Daniels for Olivia Scholz.
Scholz has played more various positions this season than any other player within the competition, a true eighth player in the fact that she can play any position on the court and play it just about as well if not better than any other player.
Imperials won the last time these two teams met by twenty goals, and will need to do the same if not more this week as finals are not all that far away.
Tailem will want to prove they can give as good as they get, their chances of making finals are pretty well done, it would take some really unexpected wins in other games for the Eagles to creep into the four but that won’t matter this week or any week, if another team wants the win then they are going to have to take it, Tailem will not give it to them.
Imperials over the past few weeks have lost a number of players to impending motherhood, they are however, lucky to have the players that can step up to replace players now in temporary retirement and continue as they have so far this season, the number one team.
Tailem will be happy to have their shooting combination of Melissa Edwards and Kirstie Gregory back together, for with changes to the Imperials line up and the shooting accuracy these two shooters have shown thus far this season, if Tailem can work on converting each centre pass then stranger things have happened.
We’ve seen games this close to finals where a team down the ladder pressures a top team enough to make them crack. Could it happen this week? I think not, but stranger things have happened in the past.