Top teams to triumph in River Murray netball

Start: Meningie's Chelsea Devitt looks for a lead during a centre pass at a recent River Murray A grade netball match. Photo - William Bailey.

Start: Meningie's Chelsea Devitt looks for a lead during a centre pass at a recent River Murray A grade netball match. Photo - William Bailey.

Technically this week we are half way through our competition with most clubs having eight or seven games to go, but believe it or not some actually only have five matches left for season 2019.

I know we go through this every year and that is the ridiculous month of July, where some teams spend more time away from the court than on it with our bye situation, let alone not all clubs playing in all grades adding to the dilemma.

During the season some clubs have a time when they have a couple of weeks off in a row for public holidays, at Easter is was Meningie and Mannum for the June long weekend it was Imperials and Meningie again, but in July both Jervois and Ramblers are only play in one week out of four for the month, hardly conducive for cementing final four finishing positions.

The club with the best draw is Tailem Bend - they start a week later and finish a week earlier maybe this rotation number should be shared around the clubs each season.

I know the program follows the football and in a good competition draw, clubs would play each other the same amount of times, surely in the 21st century we can come up with a better solution with fairness for all.

Also this week is the fourth time that the largest town within our region has no football and netball on display, surely the program can be worked that Imperials and Ramblers can have their games rotated so there is at least one game that locals can watch.

If the AFL can do it with the Crows and Power why can't we, for it is surprising how many visitors that come to our town for weekends away or for holidays, ask is there any (mainly) local football we can go and watch today, sometimes the answer is simply - No.

Senior playing times: 12.45pm - A grade & B grade; 2pm - A reserve & B reserve; 3.15pm - C grade.

Tailem Bend v Imperials

Tailem Bend will welcome Imperials to the land of the Eagles.

Last time these two teams met it was a 31-goal victory to Imperials, the first was in round four when Tailem were not quite settled with combinations, this week should be a little different as coach Darren Wasley is far happier with the set up now.

As we all know Imperials have a far taller team than all other clubs, except for possibly Mannum, and we know Tailem has been a shorter team for a number of years now and certainly have perfected the lower game style than most when attacking the ball.

Imperials had a very precise cutting game against Jervois last week and will look for that style of play to continue as they march towards finals.

Part of that precision is a high game of driving attacking play into the shooters, so we will see two completely different styles of game in this one match.

One interesting contest will be in at centre, as per usual we can expect to see Olivia Bolt line up for Imperials, for Tailem last time it was Emily Edwards and Kiarra Paech, two completely different "peas in a pod" - one probably the shortest team member the other probably the tallest.

Lately in the settled line up Edwards has been the main driving "with attitude" centre for Tailem and she is one player who is not intimidated by anyone.

She will give away height to Bolt but she never stops, she will run and run until there is no need to run anymore because the game is done.

She is shorter but loves to play as close as she can to her player so she could conceivably get in the way of Bolt's drive into attack.

The other area to keep an eye on in this game is the Tailem goal circle with Melissa Edwards and Emily Hills in goals up against Tegan Lang and Crystal Williams for Imperials.

Both shooters can be very accurate and once they feel comfortable there can be no stopping them.

But the Imperial defenders will not back down from trying to intercept and slow down ball movement into the circle, so of added importance for Tailem will be who they have feeding at wing attack for they will have to be the main and most accurate ball feeder that the Eagles have.

This will be a good game of netball; the end score could possibly not show a good indication of the level of competitiveness given by both teams, but it still should be a win to Imperials, the height difference will probably be the true deciding factor.

Meningie v Ramblers

Meningie will host Ramblers in what will be a far more competitive game of netball than the Tailem v Imperials game.

Although Meningie have yet to secure any points they do face Jervois next week and believe in that game they have a chance, so Bears coach Shauna Chaplin will use this week's match as a prelude to next week's possible opportunity for success.

When these two teams met in round four it was a 23-goal win to Ramblers, over the past few weeks the Reds have not appeared to be at their best - some teams have gotten a lot closer than coach Mark Dougall would have liked.

In round four Dougall used 11 players to get through the game, that will not be the case this week as all of his starting seven should be available for what will be a vital game if the Roosters want to be serious final contenders.

Last year Ramblers' defenders were a serious combination that impacted on a number of teams.

I am not too sure what has happened this year but their direct impact has changed somewhat, could it be that club shooters have worked out the defensive combination of Jessica Crocker and Jessica Katae, so coach Dougall will need this combination to reassert itself.

Meningie will be looking forward to the game as they have just had two weeks off, so all players should be well and truly rested and raring to go.

Although this game is between the current third and seventh placed teams, Chaplin will still believe, no matter what, they could be in with a chance and will not give up till the final whistle blows. However I believe they are not quite ready and this should be another win to Ramblers.

Mypolonga v Jervois

Second-placed Mypolonga will face Jervois for the first of two encounters at home this season.

The Tigers are reasonably secure in second place and coach Sharmon Banks is really pleased with her team's efforts so far this season.

With this season being Banks's first season coaching A grade, she came back to her home Club after babies and being a dominant part of Mypolonga's eight premiership wins, so she definitely knows what it takes for success.

All of Banks' main eight players are committed to her and to each other and although she does keep them in reasonably set positions she does have options to change players should the need arise.

Over the past two games Jervois has had matches in which it should learn from, but sometimes it is hard when they are still developing combinations to be able to battle against teams that have been together for far longer.

Sometimes we all need to remember where we came from to get to where we are going.

Jervois is a team made up predominantly of two players who played A grade last year, three who played A reserves, one from B grade and one new to the club this season.

This game will be a win to Mypolonga, but the Bluds players will give everything they have to make the Tigers earn the two points.

Jervois and Meningie are probably not contenders for unsettling the final four placings, but they are teams willing to learn, listen and give it a go - each week they line up the underdogs and have a good Aussie crack at it and this week will be no different.

Both clubs know what it is like, week in and week out, to contest against some of the best players playing country netball at the moment.

However each week these players come out and represent the clubs they love and it is this dedication that actually keeps the competition going - some people need to remember that.

                                 - Pat Brown