ROUND 7 PREVIEW
WEST GAMBIER V SOUTH GAMBIER
Last time these two sides met, West was undermanned and the clash was tight for much of the match.
It looms as an intriguing clash again.
West has defeated North and thrown a much better challenge at East, despite losing, last weekend, so the Roos are headed in the right direction.
On the other hand, South has secured a breakthrough win and challenged Millicent for the first half at the weekend.
If the Demons can produce a first quarter like they did at the weekend – they led the Saints by one they will be well in the contest.
That effort was built on some strong defensive work from Brandi Bouchier, Renee Pluckhahn and Ellie Bouchier, who created plenty of turnover ball, while the hard running of Hannah Witherow and smart feeding from Alyssa Duncan ensured goalers Grace Edwards and Lara Munro had plenty of scoring opportunities and they rewarded their team mates with accuracy.
West, on the other hand, will be looking for an improved start, having let East set up their win last round with a 10 goal quarter time buffer.
Stopping supply to star goal shooter Sarah Ritter will be top of the to do list for South and that will mean a coordinated defensive effort, not relying on Brandi Bouchier to stop the young State squad member.
Carlee Ransom, Tara Bryant and Lisa McGregor are all classy feeders and so ensuring they are under pressure on delivery will fall to Pluckhahn, Ellie Bouchier and Witherow.
West also has another ace up its sleeve.
McGregor left most of the scoring to Ritter at the weekend but she can step up whenever required and her front cuts and ability to convert from long range could prove pivotal.
At the other end, Jade Ritter continues to improve and her partnership with Amy Cram will ensure there is no easy ball for the Demons goalers.
Ritter has tackled Caroline Davey and Tabatha Sanderson since she first took on Edwards and already has worked on her technique against the taller shooters and with Cram marshalling the troops and Nikeisha Facey and Bryant looking to apply pressure on the Demons mid courter, scoring opportunities will be hard earned.
Munro has been in stellar form and Edwards has improved in every outing, so if they can get enough supply this could be another tight battle.
The Roos should win but if ever the Demons were going to cause an upset, this could be the week.
EAST GAMBIER V NORTH GAMBIER
North Gambier is heading to McDonald Park to take on the toughest assignment in the 2021 A Grade competition and with the Tigers still looking for consistency, they will know only a four quarter effort will give them a chance to chal- lenge the undefeated Bulldogs.
A good start will be key, given the Bulldogs have set up every one of their victories with blistering opening quarters.
The improved scoreline for West Gambier last round would buoy the Tigers, who would also be looking to significantly reduce the round two deficit as a starting point for this clash.
Caroline Davey looms large with her accurate finishing and strong positioning.
The star North shooter has had some classic battles with athletics East defender Bo Creek and whoever gets the upper hand in this clash will go a long way to deciding the outcome.
While East Gambier has two in form goalers – Tenille Gray and Amryn Bosko – who have been sharing the shooting duties and providing a double headache for opposition defenders, North has directed much of its scoring through Davey.
If Ellen Brown can start to use her pace and long range shooting to great effect, it will add to the firepower of the Tigers and give Creek and Lisa Fyfe two options to shut down.
In the centre, East’s Emily Hunter and North’s Brianna Walters could not be more different players.
Hunter is physical and tough, using her long drives and aerial strength to great effect while Walters plays with smarts and finesse, happy to work in small spaces and always safe with ball in hand.
Both work hard at both ends of the court and it will be interesting to see how their contrasting styles affect the final result.
The match looms as a defensive contest and it will be the team that looks after the ball best that takes the points.
East has Creek, Fyfe and Tyne Bosko making life tough in the defen- sive goal third, while the trip of Noni McConnell, Mel Renko and Maddie Whaites have a great understanding and work well as a complete unit.
The Bulldogs should remain undefeated but the Tigers should gain some ground on a lacklustre first clash between the two rivals.
MILLICENT V CASTERTON SANDFORD
Millicent took a while to settle at the weekend in its clash with a improving South Gambier so the bad news for Casterton Sandford is the reigning premiers will be looking for a much more polished start to its clash this weekend.
Already fielding an inexperience, new look line-up in 2021, the Cats have not been able to take a trick with injury and player unavailability and this clash will be yet another steep learning curve for the young Cats.
The Saints took control of its clash with the Demons on the back of some relentless mid court defensive pressure with Lisa Duldig, Kimmi Tincknell and Hannah Nitschke leading the way and that kind of denying of time and space will make life tough for the Casterton Sandford attack line.
Much will rest on the leadership and hard running of Scarlett Jarrad and the well timed moves, accurate finishing and general smarts of Paige Murrell, while at the other end, Claire Foster, Ebany Jarrad and Madison Mutch will be tested by the speed of ball Millicent produced in the second half last week- end.
The young trio will certainly look to contest everything and anything in the air they will definitely have a go at but it will be tough.
Missing tall shooter Tabatha Sanderson, the Saints reverted to the long drives and slick passing that has seen it win the past 11 titles and Paige Nitschke, Demi Verbena and Lucy Denton built some strong chemistry over the course of the four quarters last weekend.