SOUTH GAMBIER V NORTH GAMBIER
Last time they met the Demons took it right up to the Tigers for the majority of the clash, but in the end Caroline Davey does not get shorter and with Maddie Whaites picking up plenty of turnover ball at the other end North was able to get the job done.
Coming off a tough, physical, finals-like contest with East Gambier the previous round, North will have enjoyed an extra week of recovery and will also be looking to really start fine-tuning ahead of the upcoming finals series.
Whaites and Noni McConnell are continuing to develop their understanding as a defensive duo and they will certainly have their work cut out with Grace Edwards improving with every outing, Lara Munro looking comfortable in the top grade and Imi Walker also on hand to fill a shooting role if required.
At the other end, Brandi Bouchier and Ellie Bouchier will look to make access to Davey problematic for the Tigers feeders and the South defensive duo will also need Renee Pluckhahn and Hannah Witherow to pressure the delivery if they are any hope to deny Davey easy ball.
North’s mid-court of Mel Renko and Brianna Walters are all class and also have strong work ethics and when you combine their feeding ability with the creativity and smarts of Ellen Brown, who uses her pace to great effect out the front of Davey and South will need to be at their best to disrupt the quality North frontline.
Patience will be the key for the South offensive group with Pluckhahn really growing into the centre role and Alyssa Duncan knowing exactly where goalies like the ball delivered.
If that duo can find good position on the circle’s edge, Edwards and Munro will be the beneficiaries.
The Demons will be looking to again challenge strongly and have the Tigers on edge but with finals around the corner, North will get the job done and more comfortably than in the second round.
WEST GAMBIER V MILLICENT
The match up between West Gambier and Millicent has produced two great contests, with the Roos staying with the reigning premiers before the Saints did just enough to draw away in the second half.
Tabatha Sanderson is back for this clash having been missing in their second round encounter and her match up with Jade Ritter will be one of the most pivotal in the match, with Ritter improving each match and having benefitted from being part of the Western Border representative team at this year’s SA Country Championships.
The Saints forward line is built on speed of ball and it is a versatile line-up boasting Paige Nitschke, Demi Verbena and Lucy Denton, with the trio able to fulfill a number of roles in the forward set up and that will test the Roos defensive line, which is led by Amy Cram, but relies on mid courters Tara Bryant and Nikeisha Facey applying pressure to the ball coming in to allow Cram and Ritter to attack those passes and create turnover ball.
It is a similar challenge at the other end for the Saints defenders, as Bryant and Carlee Ransom use their speed to hit the circle’s edge and with both Lisa McGregor and Sarah Ritter making good position in the circle and working well together to open up easy ball for each other, the Roos will be looking to use ball movement and screens to unsettle the tight Millicent defence.
Portia McRae has earned her spot in the Saints defensive line and could well get the start on Sarah Ritter, while Hannah Nitschke and Kimmi Varcoe have played all three defensive posts over the season and have the important ability of being tight one on one defenders as well as hunting the interception.
Add to that defensive end, the hard working Lisa Duldig, who never allows the opposition feeders easy ball or an easy path to the circle and West will work for every scoring opportunity.
It looms as another close contest with the Saints again just taking the points as both sides look to build momentum leading into the finals.
CASTERTON SANDFORD V EAST GAMBIER
It is a case of déjà vu for the Bulldogs as they head to Island Park for the second successive week having played the Cats last weekend to catch up the rescheduled Round 9 clash.
It was a comprehensive win for the Bulldogs but the Cats showed plenty in a much improved performance and they will be looking to make even further inroads this weekend.
East coach Emily Hunter led from the front for all four quarters, dominating in attack as she drove hard to the circle and also picking up plenty of turnover ball through the mid court and defensive goal third and with Lisa Fyfe, Tyne Bosko and Bo Creek, also giving up no easy ball, the Cats had to work hard for their scoring opportunities and will again be relying on the smarts of Paige Murrell, as well as welcoming back some experienced heads in Scarlett Jarrad and Tori Broomby to that attacking end, That being said, it would be great to see Mikayla Hutchins, who had an impressive A Grade debut at the weekend, given more court time, while the young back three for the Cats – Caeleigh Humphries, Claire Foster and Ebany Jarrad, will be looking to again make life tough for the slick East forward set up.
The ball transition and delivery into the goal circle was a little hap
hazard from the Bulldogs but with Tenille Gray still presenting strongly and Kate Dempsey set to return to the attacking wing, East will have spent the week tidying up the offensive plays and with Amryn Bosko continuing to be a great foil for Gray, the Bulldogs will be looking to up the scoring this weekend.