September is looming and the finals race for the Kowree Naracoorte Tatiara Netball Association season is heating up ahead of Saturday’s round 12.
The big storyline is surrounding reigning premier Penola, which is on the bubble and needs to keep winning to give itself the best chance of defending the much-celebrated title.
The Eagles currently sit in fifth place, just one game ahead of both Naracoorte and Bordertown who are nipping at their heels and ready to pounce on any slip up.
Kaitlin Egan’s team is far from a certainty to feature in September, while the option of enjoying a second life in the finals is becoming less likely.
After losing two of their three games before the bye, the Eagles hope to fly higher across the back end of the season and the first challenge is against a strong Keith team.
The Crows have sights set on a top two finish and are in a two horse race alongside with Border Districts for the second spot.
Keith headed into the bye on a downer after suffering defeat to ladder-leader Lucindale, but a nine-goal win over Penola in round 3 will provide some food for thought.
April Possingham carried the Eagles to the edge of glory that day scoring 47 of her side’s 54 goals, but she could not stop the teamwork of Danielle Vankalken, Erika Lamont and Whitney Smith from proving too strong.
This should be a huge match-up and a big moment in the context of Penola’s season, so expect a large crowd to gather at McCorquindale Park.
Lucindale sits pretty one game clear on top of the ladder and is determined to reaffirm its favourite’s tag as finals near.
The Roos’ first task will be disposing of Bordertown which should be within reach, but the latter could spring a surprise knowing it needs results to stay in the finals hunt.
Lucindale’s nearest and most consistent rival to the minor flag has been Border Districts.
The brown and gold team is one of just two sides to overcome the Roos and while a rematch of the top of the table clash is on the cards in a fortnights time, the first assignment is against Mundulla.
This weekend is Border Districts’ only remaining game against a team outside the top five, so it will be looking to cash in.
Penola’s other nearest rival alongside Bordertown is Naracoorte, which should get the final phase of a season off to a winning start over the struggling Padthaway.
The Lions are a developing side and have battled to be competitive, so they will be looking for the little wins, while the Demons led by Belinda Sinclair and Lucy Henschke have bigger fish to fry looking to snap a four-game losing streak themselves.
Sitting a solid fourth on the ladder is Kybybolite and the side enjoys an extra break off this weekend due to the bye.
The Tigers also enjoy three-point buffer on Penola directly below them, while they are within striking distance of the minor premiership if things go their way.
Having played one tie and eight games decided by less than 10 goals, Kybybolite has plenty of experience in nail-biting situations which could put them in good stead as it chases the double chance.
It all shapes up to be an exciting run to September.