Rams ready for pre­lim. clash

Deniliquin Pastoral Times - - SPORT - By JAMIE LOWE

The Deni Rams A grade side will face their sec­ond Mur­ray League preliminary fi­nal in as many years to­mor­row when they travel to Co­bram to take on Ton­gala.

The last time these sides met was in round 10 when the Blues stood tall over the Rams by 12 goals.

That game was Deni’s last loss, and their only mi­nor hic­cup since was a round 16 draw against premier­ship favourite Moama.

The Rams can take con­fi­dence into to­mor­row’s match in the knowl­edge they were miss­ing star shooter Bec White for the Ton­gala loss.

And now with a set­tled line-up that’s in ex­cel­lent form, Rams coach Jodie Sefton be­lieves her side has the tal­ent to turn around the past re­sult.

‘‘We’re a dif­fer­ent side to the one that played against Ton­gala last time,’’ she said.

‘‘We have more bal­ance across the court and for us to knock off Echuca United, who were chas­ing a three-peat, was a big feather in the cap.

‘‘It’ll be a tough match against Ton­gala though.’’

Abby and Sara Pet­tifer both missed the Blues’ semi fi­nal against Moama last week and are both set to re­turn, which Sefton said will boost Ton­gala’s at­tack­ing power.

‘‘They’re both such good net­ballers so it will be tough to stop them,’’ she said.

‘‘Our de­fen­sive com­bi­na­tion of El­iza East­man and Emily Mil­dren can play on tall or short shoot­ers and are able to shut down at­tack­ing plays quite well.

‘‘Ton­gala’s play­ing coach Ali­cia White has been a strong de­fender for a long time so our shoot­ers will have to be on their game.

‘‘We’ll be look­ing to have a strong start and try and get our­selves into a po­si­tion where we don’t let Ton­gala back into the game.’’

In last year’s preliminary fi­nal the Rams fell to even­tual pre­mier Echuca United.

Sefton said her side wants to prove they have im­proved on last year with a strong per­for­mance to­mor­row.

‘‘We’re in a great po­si­tion again this year,’’ she said.

‘‘The best part is that we can have a few younger girls on the bench to give them some ex­pe­ri­ence of fi­nals netball.

‘‘We’ve been play­ing some fan­tas­tic netball and I don’t ex­pect any­thing dif­fer­ent on Sat­ur­day.’’

Deni’s match against the Blues starts about 1.30pm, with the win­ner earn­ing a spot in the grand fi­nal against Moama.

Also com­pet­ing for the Rams will be the Un­der 15s, who also come up against Ton­gala to­mor­row at 9am.

This match is ex­pected to be a close one, with the Blues edg­ing out the Rams by just three goals the last time they met.

The win­ner will go on to meet Echuca United in the grand fi­nal.

In the Un­der 13s, the Rams go head to head with Echuca United for a chance to face Ton­gala in the grand fi­nal.

The two sides have met just once this sea­son, with Deni go­ing down to the Ea­gles by 28 goals. This match will start at 10am.

Deni’s Un­der 12s will also come up against Echuca United in an ef­fort to book their place in this year’s grand fi­nal.

The Rams lost their only en­counter with the Ea­gles by seven goals, but have im­proved a lot since then.

To­mor­row’s match starts at 9am and should be a close bat­tle through­out. The win­ner will face Ton­gala in the de­cider the fol­low­ing week.

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