Na­timuk United early front-run­ner

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Sport - BY SARAH SCULLY

Reign­ing premier Na­timuk United has quickly es­tab­lished it­self as the early Hor­sham District league A Grade front-run­ner fol­low­ing round-one ac­tion in swel­ter­ing con­di­tions.

Na­timuk United did not ap­pear to skip a beat fol­low­ing a break from win­ning a flag, with all play­ers com­bin­ing well on Satur­day to de­feat peren­nial fi­nals con­tender No­rad­juhaquan­tong, 56-22.

Re­turn­ing play­ers Jo Tay­lor and Alysha Lis­ton slot­ted into the side with ease and the Ewes’ 34-goal win over the Bombers is­sued a warn­ing to the com­pe­ti­tion that they will take some beat­ing.

Tall tim­ber at ei­ther end in de­fender Casey Vanstan and shooter Shan­non Couch – both among the best play­ers in the vic­tory – will con­tinue to make life dif­fi­cult for op­po­nents all sea­son.

This week it’s Ru­pa­nyup’s turn. The Pan­thers would have been buoyed by get­ting within five goals of Eden­hopeAp­s­ley but per­haps dis­ap­pointed they did not get over the line.

Jenni Downer was piv­otal in the mid­court, with goalie Bri­anna Hys­lop mak­ing an im­pact in the ring and both will need to play well to try to curb the in­flu­ence of the ex­pe­ri­enced Ewes.

No­rad­juha-quan­tong could only envy Na­timuk United’s co­he­sion as the Bombers look to gel sev­eral new play­ers and po­si­tional changes for 2018. Stel­lar de­fender Brooke Pay and mid­courter Ge­or­gia Fran­cis were the Bombers’ best and will be out to get a win on the board this week when they host Jeparit-rain­bow.

After claim­ing only one win in 2017, the Storm would have been thrilled to start 2018 on a high note. Jepar­i­train­bow, under the lead­er­ship of new coaches Alex Schulz and Ash Mor­ri­son, was too strong for Tay­lors Lake, win­ning by 16 goals.

The Storm will face a much big­ger test against the Bombers, how­ever, while the Lak­ers will face an even tougher one again when they come up against Har­row-bal­moral.

So­phie Heard shot 21 of Tay­lors Lake’s 28 goals in a best-on-court per­for­mance and will need to be on tar­get again when her side faces last year’s other grand fi­nal­ist. While the Lak­ers won’t ex­pect to win they will want to be com­pet­i­tive and will hope to learn a few things from a more ex­pe­ri­enced, pol­ished op­po­nent.

Lewis leads the way

Har­row-bal­moral started its sea­son with a 12-goal win over Pimpinio. New coach Amy Lewis led the way with a 41-goal best-on-court show­ing in goal shooter, with Janelle Knight working hard in cen­tre and wing de­fence.

Pimpinio coach Marnie Lehmann would have been happy her charges stuck with the South­ern Roos, for so long a bench­mark side.

Hope­fully for the Tigers it is a sign of what’s to come as they look to make in­roads in a no­to­ri­ously tough com­pe­ti­tion.

Pimpinio will meet Swifts, who will en­joy their first taste of com­pe­ti­tion this sea­son fol­low­ing a bye. Pimpinio has the height to com­bat the Bag­gies and should come out on top.

Kal­kee will look to make the win­ners list against Eden­hope-ap­s­ley after go­ing down to La­harum. The Demons tri­umphed by 20 goals, led by Caitlin Story, whose 37-goal be­ston-court ef­fort was re­warded with the Michele Mibus Memo­rial Medal.

The Kees cer­tainly put up a fight, with mid­courters Grace Braith­waite and Millie Mcrae bat­tling hard to get on top of their op­po­nents. The side was with­out re­cruit Jenna By­wa­ters, who should make a dif­fer­ence in goals against the Saints this week.

Spec­ta­tors can ex­pect a fast-paced match and the Saints will hope Krystal Schapel and Sarah Do­maschenz shoot ac­cu­rately to match the Kees’ fire­power. La­harum has a bye. Round-one re­sults: La­harum d Kal­kee 63-43, Na­timuk United d No­rad­juha-quan­tong 56-22, Jepar­i­train­bow d Tay­lors Lake 44-28, Har­row-bal­moral d Pimpinio 59-47, Eden­hope-ap­s­ley d Ru­pa­nyup 43-38.

Wim­mera ac­tion

Round-one Wim­mera Net­ball As­so­ci­a­tion ac­tion will also con­tinue at the week­end, with War­rack Ea­gles to host new­comer South­ern Mallee Gi­ants.

There will be plenty of in­ter­est in how the Gi­ants – cer­tainly com­pet­i­tive in Hor­sham District league – per­form in the Wim­mera com­pe­ti­tion.

All the best to the Gi­ants for their new chal­lenge.

SEA­SON UN­DER­WAY: Tay­lors Lake de­fender Tia-ana Parker looks to pass as Jeparit-rain­bow shooter Mad­die Marra makes a move to de­fend down the court. The Storm won by 16 goals. Pic­ture: WILLAMY IM­AGES

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