River Murray netball round 17 preview + round 16 action gallery | PHOTOS

With only two weeks of the minor round competition remaining this season, taking home the two points this week is more important than ever before.

For although the final four teams playing in finals is settled, who will get the advantage of finishing in second place is far from decided.

With Ramblers having  the bye this week, should Meningie take out the win they will be only one point behind the Roosters after this week’s games but potentially still three points behind Mypolonga.

Next week Ramblers must face Imperials, while Meningie will host Jervois and Mannum will play Mypolonga.

So come the final round of minor round matches the deciding game everyone will want to be out to watch will be Mypolonga hosting Meningie.

We should see some good games of netball over the next couple of weeks but the Mypolonga v Meningie game will be a possible prelude to the preliminary finals, but I am sure if there is a way Ramblers can stall that outcome it will need to be against Imperials next week.

Coaches, PCP people please be aware under the new rules players must leave the court to be treated for injuries no matter how minor, especially for blood.

A team was seen last weekend treating a blood injury during play not once but twice and although the umpires in charge of the game did not see it, come finals the chances are you will not get away with it.

Round 17 tip: Enthusiasm + encouragement + energy = excellence, in any and all that you do.

Senior playing times:

  • 12.45pm – A grade and C grade
  • 2pm – A reserve and B reserve
  • 3.15pm – B grade

Jervois v Mypolonga

Jervois will welcome Mypolonga this week to their home courts for the final time in season 2018.

Although Jervois have had good starts in the previous encounters between these two teams, this week the Bluds can expect to meet a tougher more determined Tigers team.

Although some people around the courts would think with the second placed team coming up against the seventh, Mypolonga’s coach Sandy Gates could rest and finalise some combinations, however Gates can still see some holes within her team and will want those holes plugged before going into the finals competition of the season.

Jervois have had a few so-called minor injuries to deal with over the last couple of weeks, including a red backed spider bite, so coach Leanne Baldock will be hoping all her players will be back to full strength this week, as she would love nothing more than to play the final 3 games of the season as if they were the first three of the season, in others words with resolve and determination.

Mypolonga have a very settled defence combination of three players, Sheridan O’Brien, Ashley Biddle and Karley Dabinett, so Jervois shooters Emily Hill, Catherine Zarantonello, Mikayla Mills with back up shooter Brianna Burt will have to work hard this week against the Tigers combination, accuracy will have to be at its best.

Through the centre court area for Jervois, Burt, Charly Heym, Tessa Thurston and Jodie Burt will have to work hard at producing clear, in front leads as playing behind Mypolonga’s Stacey Kempe, Ashleigh Horsnell, Courtney Blacker, Kelsey Gepp and Nadia Manly will not work in the favour of the Bluds.

In defence for Jervois Kylie Mathewson will have the support of a number of the other Jervois players mentioned as just about every player can back up into the defence third for the Bluds.

Who that defensive combination will be for Jervois there is no doubt, will have their work cut out for them against the very experienced Kara Martin, who is well and truly over having her first child and the improving Lexi Blight.

If there is a weakness that Jervois can try and exploit it is that the attacking end for Mypolonga is far from settled, as is the centre position, the challenge for Baldock will be coming up with the right player answers for those key positions if they hope to take on the Tigers this week.

There is no doubt as to who will take out this game, for to lose this week so close to finals is not an option for Mypolonga.

Mannum v Meningie

Mannum will welcome a slightly injured Meningie team to the land of the Roos this week.

After losing the Bears first goal attack for the season, coach Matt Hood thought he had all his questions answered when he found new player Kimberly Graham, however the Bears also lost Graham. So now instead of being one of the most settled teams in the competition Meningie are now one of the most unsettled teams in finals contention.

If Hood and the Bears players want to be able to challenge for the final game of the season they need to come up with the right answers now.

It is too late to qualify any new players, so Hood will need to look to his A reserve shooters to find the answers to the questions being asked.

The danger is, Meningie are currently sitting in second position in the A reserves, rotation between these two teams will have to be closely monitored.

Mannum had last week a good start to their game against Imperials to be only down by eighteen goals at half time.

Now I know to some that sounds a lot but when you are talking about top team Imperials against sixth team Mannum eighteen goals difference at half time looks good as far as the Roos go.

However a 49-goal second half to the Blues compared to only a 17-goal half for Mannum, should tell everyone the Blues are now perfecting the finishing of their game.

Mannum coach Nicky Smith and her players have battled hard all season after the loss of some major players at the start of the season as well as a couple of injuries during the season.

Mannum’s younger generation of players will continue to look towards the more experienced players like Amy Loechel and Kimberley Rathjen and hopefully for the Roos this week the return of Sophie Kroehn.

For although the youngsters like Emily Paech, Rachel Gassner, Lucinda McKenzie, Georga Wiebrecht and a few others, will give  one hundred percent of themselves to each and every on court position, it will still be the more experienced players on court they will look to for support.

Meningie last week played Candice Love in goals with Marni Hood and although these two players have played together a few times this season, they are far from a settled combination the coach would like, so the final three weeks of competition is going to be very tough in the Bears scoring end of play.

No matter who plays, Meningie cannot be put out of the four so are assured of finals participation, however they will want the added mental advantage winning this week by a good margin will bring.

Imperials v Tailem Bend

Imperials will welcome Tailem Bend in their final home game of the season this week.

Imperials have dominated all season, there is no question about that and they will want to finish the season strongly in this their second to last game of the minor round of competition.

Over the past few weeks Imperials coach Carrie Daniels has played around with her combinations a little, particularly in the goal and defence ends of the court.

She wants to have all questions answered before they are asked, particularly should she sustain an unexpected injury or two. This season for the Blues has been a good one re player availability, no pregnancies, no injuries and very few absences for holidays etc. That cannot be said for other Clubs like Mypolonga and Meningie.

This week though the Blues come up against another very settled player combination in Tailem Bend who through the season only had one player missing for a significant amount of time in Hailey Davids.

This lack of player movement has allowed the Eagles to fine tune their combinations throughout the whole area of the court. The disadvantage they will face this week is coming up against a much taller team in which to contest against.

Last Saturday Tailem Bend played a very solid game not only against Jervois but also against a very strong windy day, they did that by relying on a lot of bounce passes coming out of their defence end, obviously these passes were more reliable that the more accepted shoulder and lob passes.

Will that same style of play work this week, possibly not as the wind does not have the same affect at Imperials that it does at Jervois.

This game does qualify as game of the round which some people would think strange when you are talking about first verses fifth, however those positions do not take in account player attitudes.

Tailem have determination, aggression and belief featuring strongly within their own style of game and through those assets they are not afraid to challenge for the ball, no matter where, no matter whom against.

Opposition big names mean very little to the Eagles, they are the underdog and will not go down without a fight or a bark or two.

Imperials will win this game the big question is can they come out just as strong and just as whole as they went in, for Tailem will be no easy beats.