Derby will sort out Lak­ers and Swans

Seymour Telegraph - - SPORT -

TELE­GRAPH jour­nal­ist Lewis Fis­cher takes a look ahead at this week­end’s lo­cal derby be­tween Nagam­bie and Avenel, which will be played at Nagam­bie.

Last time the side’s met — in round one — Nagam­bie was an easy win­ner in foot­ball, and Avenel were far too good in net­ball.

But both clubs have dra­mat­i­cally dif­fer­ent line-ups this week, and any­thing could hap­pen.

FOOT­BALL

Round one score: Avenel 9.11 (65) lt Nagam­bie 15.19 (109).

This week’s tip: Nagam­bie, but only just.

When Avenel and Nagam­bie last met in round one it was the 2016 grand fi­nal re­match.

With emo­tion still raw and ex­pec­ta­tion heaped on both sides, some rose to the chal­lenge while oth­ers fal­tered.

It was the be­gin­ning of a slow start to the year for the Swans which strug­gled to find their form among new play­ers and in­jury.

‘‘We had around seven new faces in the team,’’ Avenel coach Don Stir­ling said.

A dis­jointed pre-sea­son, thanks to op­po­si­tion teams pulling out of sched­uled prac­tice matches, also con­trib­uted to the Swans’ woes.

‘‘We’ve played about half of the year now, we’ve got­ten to know each other and how we play a bit bet­ter, and we’re com­ing into some good form,’’ Stir­ling said.

With Kasey Dun­can out for the year while oth­ers are on over­seas hol­i­days es­cap­ing the Vic­to­rian win­ter, Stir­ling is con­fi­dent in the side he in­tends to field next Satur­day.

‘‘With the guys we’ve had com­ing up from the re­serves, they’ve been putting on some great per­for­mances and get­ting no­ticed, there’s a lot of pres­sure for se­lec­tion at the mo­ment which is al­ways good,’’ Stir­ling said.

Nagam­bie, with the ex­cep­tion of a few re­cruits such as Michael Roberts who set the ground ablaze in round one, has been for­tu­nate to have a pretty set­tled line-up for the past few years.

‘‘They’re ob­vi­ously the yard­stick of the com­pe­ti­tion, and have been for the past few years, but this week will re­ally show us where we’re at,’’ Stir­ling said.

‘‘We ex­pect a good fiery footy game against a side who prob­a­bly started the year off not ex­actly how they wanted but have ob­vi­ously worked them­selves into some re­ally good form,’’ Nagam­bie coach Linc Sul­li­van said.

Sul­li­van ex­pects the Swans to be there come fi­nals time and doesn’t doubt they’ll be there right to the end either.

Nagam­bie has had its own in­jury woes too.

Ruck­man Alex Tat­ter­sall has been out for weeks and is un­likely to be back in time for the big clash.

Back­man Mark Nolan has been a good re­place­ment in the role but whether he can match it against the in-form Paul Arandt is an­other story.

NET­BALL

Round one score: Avenel 64 d Nagam­bie 46.

This week’s tip: Nagam­bie in a ma­jor up­set.

When Avenel hosted Nagam­bie in round one they were a com­pletely dif­fer­ent side.

Af­ter 12 rounds, four points and a 31-point goal dif­fer­ence is all that splits the two sides.

Sea­son-end­ing in­juries have thrown a span­ner in the Swans’ cam­paign and yet they still re­main un­beaten.

With the core of that round-one team either in­jured or un­avail­able, it’s un­known whether the Swans will be able to con­tinue their un­bro­ken run.

‘‘The three games I’ve played in against Nagam­bie have al­ways been very com­pet­i­tive and highly skilled games and we’re re­ally look­ing for­ward to the chal­lenge,’’ Avenel de­fender and stand-in coach Laura Mundy said.

‘‘We have a few play­ers on hol­i­day and a few in­juries. We’ll see what we’ve got on Thurs­day night and pick the strong­est side avail­able to us but I’m con­fi­dent that with our best seven out on the court can get the job done.’’

Nagam­bie has built steadily over the course of the sea­son.

Since its round-one loss to the Swans, it has im­proved dra­mat­i­cally as coach Abby Misiti has built her side and strength­ened her com­bi­na­tions.

The Lak­ers have wel­comed back El­iz­a­beth Fuhrmeis­ter, who’s been a dam­ag­ing force in the mid­court as well as in her reg­u­lar de­fen­sive role.

New re­cruit Dan­ica Wor­thing­ton has bol­stered Nagam­bie’s de­fence while Mor­gan Zotti, who crossed over from Sey­mour, has proven a force when in-form in wing de­fence.

Bianca Willis has con­tin­ued to shoot bril­liantly for the Lak­ers while Avenel will have had to do bat­tle with­out star shoot­ers Kate Bishop and Kathryn Hard, who are both side­lined with in­jury.

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