THIS weekend's round of River Murray netball completes the first rotation of games for our season and during this rotation we have seen some great accomplishments, however not everything has been great.
Just in the past week the association has released a letter to all clubs with the request that the letter be forwarded to all coaches and through those coaches, to all players.
The letter is informing us the netball community that there has been some instances where verbal abuse has been directed at some umpires.
We all know that this is not acceptable in netball, in fact it is not acceptable in life, but I also acknowledge that there is a certain amount of frustration around at the moment as well.
So to say we shouldn't be doing this is right, should we also ask the question as to why is it happening?
Abuse is like a disease, it is no good just putting a band aid on it after it has happened.
Should we not be looking at why it is happening, why are players thinking it is acceptable or in the very least forgetting that it is unacceptable, why do people think it is okay to call out from the side lines of a netball court?
I am a big believer in "prevention is better than cure", why is there so much frustration around at the moment?
In the past I have called for an open meeting to discuss our game, we only have to look at changes to rules and interpretation of some rules to know that this is a big part of the frustration.
When these changes occur information comes out from Netball SA direct to our umpires, then it is passed along to all of our other umpires via our Umpires forum.
When and how do our coaches and players receive that same information, via their clubs umpire co-ordinators, which I believe to be the case in some instances, but can we say with certainty that it has been passed along to all?
Has the time come for a coaches group-committee just like our umpires have, to discuss the game as well, to really benefit and handle vital issues such as these?
This week within the River Murray competition we have second place Mypolonga hosting top of the table Imperials, while sixth-placed Jervois will play fifth-placed Tailem Bend and Meningie will welcome Mannum in what is the greatest distance for travelling within our competition.
Senior playing times: 12.45pm - A reserve, B reserve; 2pm - B grade, C grade; 3.15pm - A grade.
Meningie v Mannum
Meningie will welcome Mannum this week in a game that promises to be fast and competitive.
Although the Bears are currently sitting in seventh spot it has not been from lack of trying.
Meningie coach Shauna Chaplin has endeavoured to rebuild a competitive team for season 2019.
However with some injuries and forced team changes they are still a team in waiting and know that it will take one step at a time to achieve success.
Mannum may have surprised a number of people last week when they had a convincing win against Ramblers. One would imagine that that success will be something that the Roos players will look for again this week.
Although Mannum have had a couple of seasons they would rather forget than to remember, everyone needs to be aware that there are a significant number of players within the Mannum team that know what success tastes like and are only too willing to pass those memories along to junior players within the playing group.
I classify Mannum as a sleeping giant, one that should not be under-estimated in any way.
When looking at both teams competing in this game there are a number of points that need to be taken into account.
Experience favours Mannum, as does height with Mannum probably the best team to compete against the height advantages of Imperials.
So for Meningie this will be another game in which they will take to the courts as the underdogs but Chaplin and her team are always ready and willing to learn.
When looking at team strengths none will be more impacting for Meningie than who will be charged with defending the Mannum shooters of Amy Loechel and Gemma Horstmann.
They are fast becoming a dominant shooting combination for Mannum and Meningie will have to make sure that they have the players to counteract the fast attacking play by both of the Mannum scorers.
This game will go to Mannum to further cement their finish within the final four at the end of the season.
Mypolonga v Imperials
This game is definitely this week's game of the round, current one verses two, last season's grand finalists and two teams that have played against each other, in vital games and at vital times, more than any other two clubs within our competition.
The difference this time around is Imperials have pretty much the same line up that they have had over the past five seasons. While Mypolonga do have players that have played together in the past, as a full team of seven positions that is where the comparison ends.
Mypolonga have a new coach this season in Sharman Banks and although she may be new to standing in the coaching position she is not new to what it takes to challenge Imperials.
She is also fully aware that the job doesn't have to be done today; it is only in the last game of the season that really counts.
All really big names for Mypolonga have now retired and it is the new younger names that are starting to stamp their authority on the game; it is this newness that may impact on the Imperials players once they have taken to the court.
Mypolonga have the so called home court advantage that quite often does not really impact on a game at this level of competition, however this time it might just have some impact, remembering that the courts at Mypolonga are like no other within the region.
Player match ups to keep an eye on are Mypolonga's Zoe Kiley-Gepp up against Imperials Lucy Harkness - not a lot of difference here as far as height is concerned, both players are very quick and quite reactive and although Harkness might win the battle on body strength, Kiley-Gepp has learnt a lot from Banks and will want to pass on that knowledge in her style of play.
What Kiley-Gepp has to be aware of is if Imperials coach Carrie Daniels plays the new member to the Imperials team Tegan Lang, on her for half of the game the who is taller than Harkness but just as fast and just as determined. This will be an interesting area of play.
Up the other end of the court ,who will Mypolonga place on the tall goal attack for Imperials Casey Gregory? Will it be Georgia Steinert, Nadia Manly or Emma Kluske? No one knows for sure, but make no mistake there are some options for the Tigers here.
This is going to be a hard-fought game as neither team will give in lightly. Fast and furious will be the defensive style of play and shooting by both teams will need to be quite high, but I don't believe that Mypolonga are quite ready yet so this game should be another win for the Blues.
Jervois v Tailem Bend
Jervois will welcome Tailem Bend to their home courts this week in a game of two new look teams, well at least to each other that is.
Tailem under new coach Darren Wasley will be very fit and with a number of games already under their belts only too ready for this week's match.
Jervois are and have adapted to the new look running of the team in a squad format, which has seen a number of player movements and options being used in other games.
The first question for both teams will be who will start in goals, for Jervois will it be Courtney Afford and Kalarie Doecke or will Taitlyn Rothe and Tegan Afford get the nod, while for Tailem there is no doubt that Melissa Edwards will be there but assisting her will it be Emily Hill, Georgia Exton or one of the shooters from the A reserve team, only Saturday will tell.
Tailem Bend have a very fast and dynamic centre court combination who have for seasons now managed to compete with the best of the others considering the lack of height there in.
The Eagles have learnt the shorter style of game with great determination and with almost an ease of motion, can the Jervois team run with and against this combination, again only Saturday will tell.
The defence end for both teams seems to be the end of play where changes have been made the most for both clubs, there are no dominant set combinations here for either team, so again we will all have to wait and see who just takes to the court and where.
There is a lot of history between these two clubs and although both are still trying to make an impression on the top four of the competition, this game will be just as eagerly contested as any other within our competition, as to who will take out the game, current score lines over past games for both teams leans towards a Tailem victory, again only Saturday will tell.