SOUTH GAMBIER V WEST GAMBIER
The first time South and West met, it was a tight contest with only 10 goals separating the two sides.
The round two clash was nothing short of disastrous for the Demons and their worst performance for the season by some distance.
It means this weekend’s clash is somewhat of an unknown but given West has just pushed top ranked East to the limit, the Demons will be facing a confident Roos outfit and will need to start well and out in a four quarter performance to avoid another lopsided score-board.
South defenders Brandi Bouchier and Ellie Bouchier had to try and deny tall Millicent shooter Tabatha Sanderson easy ball last weekend and now they take on rising star Sarah Ritter – another tall shooter and one who also does not mind the long range shots.
It is the case of another weekend, another huge challenge and the mother-daughter combination will again be hoping the mid court of Renee Pluckhahn and Hannah Witherow make life tough for the feeders because if Carlee Ransom and Tara Bryant and given easy access to the circle, the scoreboard will be extremely difficult to control.
At the other end, South has a tall shooter of its own in Grace Edwards and her strength on the hold and ability to pull in the difficult ball improves every week, so West defenders Jade Ritter and Amy Cram will need to be at their best and they can also not ignore Lara Munro who has been a revelation in her debut season with her long range accuracy and willingness to attack the post.
One of the key battles will be West wing defender Nikiesha Facey taking on Demon wing attacks Alyssa Duncan and Imogen Walker.
Duncan is a smart player who plays in goals and knows just where to place the ball, while Walker is strong in the air and hits the circle hard.
West clearly starts favourite with Sarah Ritter in outstanding shooting form and coach Lisa McGregor working so well with her young shooting partner and with Cram and Jade Ritter coming off a strong performance against the star East shooting combination, the Roos should continue to build towards finals with a strong victory.
CASTERTON SANDFORD V MILLICENT
Millicent had a tough opening quarter against South Gambier at the weekend but as they match wore on, so did the Saints dominance and that looms large for the Cats as they host the reigning premiers.
Paige Murrell, Tori Broomby and new addition Zhane Crawford have started to form a hard working offensive set up but with Portia McRae, Hannah Nitschke, Kimmi Tinknell and Lisa Duldig patrolling the defensive third, finding easy ball in range will be a challenge Even when you add in 300 gamer Scarlett Jarrad, who is a hard running mod courter, the Cats will still have a tough day to find avenues to goal.
The other end of the court was also impressive, as the speed of ball from Demi Verbena and Paige Nitschke made life tough for the South defenders and will also test the Cats defensive line.
They continued to find Tabatha Sanderson in space and she is clearly fully recovered from her finger injury that kept her off court for weeks until round 10.
The accurate delivery and her strong hold and strong hands will mean the likes of Ebany Jarrad, Claire Foster and Caeleigh Humphries will have to try and cut the ball off before it gets as far as Sanderson if they are hoping to keep the scoreboard under control.
Lucy Denton is about to head off for nationals as part of the SA 17 Under team so would be an unlikely starter this weekend but the Saints’ depth will be able to cover that absence, despite the fact the young mid-courter has been in great form and was agian influential in Millicent’s convincing round 11 win over South.
NORTH GAMBIER V EAST GAMBIER
If ever there was a time to end East Gambier’s undefeated run in 2021, this is the weekend so North Gambier is in prime position to be the first.
With Tyne Bosko and Tarsh McCallum sidelined, the Bulldogs will field a makeshift mid court.
Kate Dempsey is certainly up to the challenge and will probably take the wing attack bib, while the wing defence position might be as little more problematic as A Reserve player Chloe Perryman has filled that role, but it is getting to the point of the season where players cannot continue to fill in the higher grade.
Of course playing coach Emily Hunter patrols the mid court and she is as dynamic as they come, working hard defensively and driving hard to the circle’s edge in attack.
Her battle with Mel Renko looms as one of the key battles of the contest, with Renko arguably one of the most consistent performers in the competition and always at a high level.
Both sides defensive plans revolve around two dominant shooters – East Gambier looking to deny tall Tigers hooter Caroline Davey too much ball and North’s defensive set up looking to make life tough for athletic goal attack Tenille Gray.
The quality shooters are certainly the key targets for their respective sides but both sides would be all too aware their shooting partners cannot be left unchecked.
East’s Amryn Bosko has been sharing the shooting load with Gray and her timing on the lead and ability to hold strongly has her ranked equally as dangerous if left with too much space.
North’s Ellen Brown has pace to burn and not only does she deliver the ball with precision to Davey but she also is not afraid of the long shot.
To deny easy ball to Davey and Gray will take a full team effort.
Bo Creek, who celebrated her 250th game last weekend, has had some wonderful battles with Davey and her aerial strength will certainly be a factor, while the ability of Lisa Fyfe to take the spectacular interception and the pressure from Hunter will hope- fully be enough to assist Creek in keeping Davey quiet.
At the other end, Maddie Whaites and Noni McConnell are building a strong combination, with McConnell coming off her best game at goal defence for the season and they will need to work together and rely on pressure from Renko, Tenielle Barry and Lauren Buddle outside the circle to force errors from the East feeders.
This looms as a goal for goal contest with East just sneaking over the line despite the challenges.