Home court advantage expected to tip match in Casterton’s favour

Home court advantage expected to tip match in Casterton’s favour

The Cats had some good passages of play in round four when they took on West Gambier and they will be hoping to replicate that performance when they host South Gambier this weekend as both sides look to secure a breakthrough victory.

Casterton Sandford has Holly Smith and Chelsea Hulm in the shooting circle and the duo has started to build some synergy, while at the weekend Madalene Cleary, the ultimate utility, spent a couple of quarters at goal attack as well.

The defensive end of the Cats is a versatile line up with Ebany Jarrad, Caeleigh Humphries and Chloe Finnigan all capable of taking on all three roles and they will need to be at their best to deny easy scoring opportunities for the South shooting circle.

Gracie Dalton and Ashleigh Widdison are both physically strong in that Demons shooting circle, with Megan Reid also an option with her speed and ability to use the front cut and baseline drives to great effect.

At the other end, the Cats shooting circle will do well to keep the ball out of the air with Mykaela Thiele and Ellie Bouchier both strong aerialists, with Bouchier having made a strong start to the season, proving to be a key link player in offence as well.

Coach Brandi Bouchier also threw Sophie Wight into the defensive circle at the weekend and her speed onto the ball and strong vertical leap is another weapon the coach can deploy if required.

The mid court will see the likes of Cleary, Phoebe Carlin, who has been a valuable pinch hitter off the bench, and Humphries and Jarrad up against Tully McShane, who can take any of the three mid court roles, Teresa Humphris, who brings speed to the frontline and Reid, who runs hard both ways.

Accuracy in the shooting circle has been a challenge for both these sides in the first few rounds, as has coughing up possession so it will come down to the side that makes fewer errors with ball in hand and makes sure possession counts on the scoreboard.

It looms as the tightest contest of the round with the Cats just getting it done on their home court.

EAST GAMBIER V WEST GAMBIER


For three quarters in round four East Gambier matched it with North Gambier but a lacklustre second quarter saw the match end up out of reach.

This weekend they host West Gambier and such a lapse will be equally punished so coach Malinda Foster, who herself has been a shining light for the Bulldogs in the first four rounds, will no doubt be hammering home the need for a consistent four quarter performance.

On the flip side, West Gambier hit the court in round four without injured shooter Sarah Ritter and still put in a dominant performance against Casterton Sandford, scoring just as prolifically as they have when Ritter has been at the post.

East’s frontline will need to be patient with ball in hand and Casey Horrigan and Tegan Nunan will need to be ready to do a mountain of work outside the circle to eventually find a way through the tough defence of Amy Cram and Mikaela Horrigan.

The new look circle defence combination for the Roos is settling nicely and with Tara Bryant and Chelsea Tremelling working hard to pressure the delivery, every goal against the Roos defence is well earned.

Accurate finishing has been the hallmark of Foster this season and her combination with Renee Henke over the past two outings gives the Bulldogs accurate finishers not afraid of the long shot.

At the other end, Bo Creek has led the East defence with Morgan Amy taking the defensive wing and Sharna McKinnon working at the post and they will be focussing on slowing the speed of ball from the Roos if they are to be any chance to stop Lisa McGregor, who was in career best form at the weekend, and her current shooting partner Tahlia Bradley.

It is hard to see West not returning to Malseed Park with the points.

MILLICENT V NORTH GAMBIER


Millicent took a while to get going in round four as the Saints continued to work on what will be their best combination for 2024 but when they did, they outclassed South Gambier.

The victory was set up by Portia McRae and Lauren Van Eeden, who contested every ball, worked hard over the shot and dominated the rebounding duels.

With Lisa Duldig, Lillie Paul, Georgia Clarke and Daisy Tunkin all spending time in the mid court, the defensive work rate to turn the ball over in that middle third was relentless and then that combo used their speed to turn defence into attack.

The shooting circle saw Edie Easterby use her athleticism and speed to great effect and she dominates the air, while Kalani Dunn and Nikeisha Facey provide that holding option although the Saints will no doubt be looking to play the safe, front position as much as possible with North defenders Stella Mobbs, Ava Collins and Lauran Norman loving the ball in the air.

Those youngsters will be well supported by Mel Renko who is back in her wing defender role and is always good for plenty of deflections and interceptions.

It looms as the decisive end of the court in this contest as the competition’s rising stars go toe-to-toe.

Millicent loves speed of ball movement and so do the Tigers of 2024 with Kaitlin Egan and Brianna Walters finding the circle’s edge as quickly as possible to connect with their mobile shooting circle of Macey Griffith and Kelly Lockwood in space.

That duo are also accurate finishers so McRae and Ven Eeden will need to deny easy possession as often as possible.

And in the end, perhaps the accurate finishing on the shot will be the key stat with North just getting the points.

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