NETBALL: Closer games in store | ROUND TWO PREVIEW

Shooting: Mypolonga's Zoe Kiley-Gepp in action during her side's win over Meningie on Saturday. Photo: William Bailey.

Shooting: Mypolonga's Zoe Kiley-Gepp in action during her side's win over Meningie on Saturday. Photo: William Bailey.

Last week we saw some major score blowouts, to some people this may be regarded as boring but then those people would be wrong.

There were no players on any of the three courts that simply allowed the opposition to have their own way; games were fierce and at times quite intense, as players quite literally fought for control of the ball.

The common denominator between all of the unsuccessful teams was the impact of new players, Imperials, Mypolonga and Ramblers all are very settled teams with a significant number of the players on court certainly not strangers to each other, especially when knowing their own strengths and weaknesses.

For Jervois, Mannum and Meningie the opposite was an underlying factor.

Even with the return of players like Tracy Dabinett and Kellie Klose in defence, the centre court region for Mannum was completely new and although they have all trained together for a while now, the difference between training together and actually playing against an opposition is totally different.

Not all teams also had their full complement of players, first game of the season with a starting date in March and not April, did trick a few people when scheduling other events.

So although we did see six of our clubs in action last week, we did not see all of them as they would have preferred to be, to start the season.

This coming week Mannum will play host to Jervois, Ramblers will face Mypolonga and Meningie will welcome Tailem Bend in what is Tailem's first game of the season.

Senior Playing Times: 12.45pm - A reserve & B reserve; 2pm - B grade & C grade; 3.15pm - A grade.

Mannum v Jervois

Mannum will host Jervois this week for the first of three games this season.

With Mannum not able to field a B reserve team, all people keen on watching this game need to be aware that it will start at 2pm and not the programmed 3.15pm time slot.

Mannum under new coach Jemma Woollard tried a number of combinations last week to find the strengths that she needed against Imperials.

Last week Mannum rotated ten players within their game, Jervois in their loss to Ramblers rotated eleven players.

So this week it will be a new look Bluds team that will take to the court for the first time this season, more settled, more balanced and very eager to have a good go at securing two points.

Player match ups to keep an eye out for could be Mannum's Tracy Dabinett on Jervois' Courtney Afford.

Dabinett a very seasoned defender has dominated the defensive ladder within the RMNA for a number of years, playing within the Associations Representative team a number of times.

Afford a confident scorer in goals did miss a couple of years to injury but is back full of confidence and raring to go.

Both of these players know only one way of playing netball and you can be sure to see it this week in full flight.

Also to watch this week are the young players stepping up for both clubs, last week Shari Hampel played her first ever A grade game at wing defence for Mannum, this week she could face Tegan Afford playing in her first A grade game at wing attack for Jervois.

If there is one thing all in netball appreciate seeing is the young ones in our game being given the chance to step up and prove themselves and that will only be too apparent this week in this game.

As to who will take out the game, in weighing up all the facts and player strengths as I know them, I feel it will be a win to Mannum but in a very close contest.

Ramblers v Mypolonga

In the game of the week, Ramblers will welcome another winning team from last week in Mypolonga.

These two teams had big wins last week and although Ramblers are a very settled team compared to Mypolonga there are big names and combinations within the Tigers team that will make things difficult for Ramblers.

Last week Kenisha Seidel at goal attack and Nicole Simon at goal shooter made the defence team for Jervois work really, really hard to stop scoring opportunities.

Mypolonga's combination of Nadia Manly and Georgia Steinert are going to have to play a very tight game if they hope to shut down the Ramblers ball movement in and around the goal ring.

Steinert a previous junior with the Tigers returned this year to be another player stepping onto the A grade court for the first time.

However, if you want to watch two in-sync defenders then it would be very hard to go past Ramblers Jessica Crocker and Jessica Katae.

Mypolonga's shooters Zoe Kiley-Gepp, Brooke Watson and Lexi Blight will all find themselves with their hands full, trying to take control of the ball within the Tigers scoring ring, so feeding for Mypolonga will be a factor of the game that the Tigers will have to get on top of.

To some people the biggest question of them all will be who for Mypolonga will take on the job of shutting down Ramblers dominant centre court player in Nikki Dougall.

Last week for Mypolonga Stacey Kempe wore the centre position bib for most of the game but did come off during the last quarter.

 Banks will be hoping she will be all okay to take on Dougall this week.

This is a really hard game to call, Mypolonga last season finished second and Ramblers were fourth, so some would say that gives the Tigers the edge.

But, after watching Ramblers play last week, they are the slightly more settled team so I believe should all players be available for coach Mark Dougall then Ramblers should take out the win in another close game.

Meningie v Tailem Bend

After a very slow start in last week's game against Mypolonga, Meningie will be hoping for a greater start to the game when they host Tailem Bend this week.

Last week Meningie were missing coach Shauna Chaplin, so assistant coach, player Kate Treloar took on the job, this week all at the Club will be looking for Chaplin to be there.

New Tailem Bend coach Darren Wasley, as by now we all know from talk around town, is very focused on fitness so Meningie can expect to take on an Eagles team fitter than ever before.

One can also expect to see some long time Tailem Bend names like Melissa Edwards on court this week, but names like Hayley Davids and Kaitlin Kneebone will be missing.

Last year Tailem Bend had a very good 17 and under team and anyone would be right in thinking some of those players will be given the opportunity to step up as well.

A new coach always looks for what can give them the unexpected edge over other clubs and that can come from new players to the club or promotions from lower grades within the Club.

However, the question has to be asked; can the players actually play the game together?

When you break down all the components of the Tailem Bend team they are a team with some new players, promotions from lower grades and juniors within the club and what appears to be a fairly full on focus on fitness.

Can they come up with the combinations to do the work required to dominate three different sections of play within a netball game?

This week should give all an idea.

For Meningie they played against a very slick and dominant Mypolonga last week, with their coach missing in action, this week should see a different Bears team on the court.

Chaplin is a very confident coach and has a strong belief that her players can step up and take on whoever enters their town.

As to who should take out this game, it is a Meningie home game, Tailem Bend are fitter that usual but both teams have changes and ins and outs from last year.

This could also be another one of those close games, but it is Tailem Bend's first game of the season so I believe they will go out as strong as they can to secure the two points.

It is up to Meningie to stop them.

- By Pat Brown