Ver­sa­til­ity key for net­ball suc­cess

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Sport - BY COURT­NEY CLOUGH

We’ve seen it in the 2017 Su­per Net­ball com­pe­ti­tion, and we must see it more in Wim­mera net­ball. Ver­sa­til­ity will win games.

In the in­au­gu­ral Su­per Net­ball com­pe­ti­tion this year we’ve seen a change in elite net­ball rules.

A land­mark agree­ment saw 80 ath­letes con­tracted to the na­tional league, which brought with it in­creased salaries, live cov­er­age and a flurry of off­sea­son move­ment which would turn former team-mates into ri­vals with the tougher com­pe­ti­tion for lim­ited elite con­tracts – oh, and also add the un­lim­ited in­ter­na­tional ath­lete im­port rule. A fans’ de­light and ex­cit­ing net­ball.

But for the ath­letes want­ing a spot, ver­sa­til­ity was the key for se­lec­tion.

For Wim­mera Net­ball As­so­ci­a­tion ac­tion, it’s the only way for­ward. Change it up: don’t sim­ply train to chase, look to cre­ate more ver­sa­til­ity from within your own squad – to win. Be­cause when we do, net­ball wins.

Last week Ararat put on a dom­i­nant dis­play un­der the post to record a pow­er­ful push into the sec­ond half of the sea­son against Stawell.

Minyip-mur­toa con­sis­tently kept Nhill at bay, gain­ing an­other four points, and Hor­sham skipped out of the blocks early at Cough­lin Park to take Sun­day show­down brag­ging rights over cross-town ri­vals Hor­sham Saints.

War­rack Ea­gles con­trolled the pace and flow at home, as they ran away with a 19-goal win over the Roos.

When the Ea­gles head across the pad­docks to take on Minyip-mur­toa, they must step up a gear in at­tack.

They will meet their match in de­fence in re­li­able Bur­ras duo Stefanie Cooper and Ste­vie Bibby, who will be re­lent­less in front and over the shot.

Ex­pe­ri­enced Ea­gles goalie Me­gan Werner will need to be a gen­eral in at­tack, and she can cause some dam­age again this week un­der the post if she has the sup­port in front of and around her.

The Bur­ras have plenty of fire­power of their own in at­tack with Kirby Knight putting plenty of goals on the score­board each week.

She will at­tract at­ten­tion from Ea­gles in-form de­fen­sive duo Penny Fisher and Jess Kelly.

They say de­fence wins games, but the most con­sis­tent at­tack­ing end will win this one.

In an ex­pected close one, Dim­boola will host Hor­sham Saints and both will be keen to re­turn to the win­ners list.

There’s plenty to like about the young Saints list – they are young, fit and with the likes of goalie Mag­gie Caris and ver­sa­tile Tara Jasper, re­ally push­ing it week in, week out by mix­ing it with the best.

The Roos will rely on ex­pe­ri­enced heads, par­tic­u­larly con­sis­tent de­fender Carly Werner who is ex­pected to get the nod on Caris and play a huge part in how her side fin­ishes the day.

Hor­sham could face a slightly changed Ararat line-up in what’s set to be a pearler.

What the Rats could do is pinch a win from the pace-set­ting De­mons.

The con­tin­ued in­clu­sion of Me­gan Shea un­der the post for the Rats adds a steady head and an ac­cu­rate tar­get in the ring.

Her in­flu­ence in the front end, plus the speed from team-mates Jes­sica Wil­liamson and Lau­ren Arm­strong in the mid­dle, suits the style of play they can con­tinue to dis­play. Could Shea be the miss­ing piece?

Be­fore we get car­ried away, let me just talk about ver­sa­til­ity again and the Hor­sham team. The De­mons get it. They are well skilled and drilled. They have plan A, and plan B and prob­a­bly plan Z too. As al­ways, they are the hunted, and will wel­come the chal­lenge.

It will be tal­ented young shooter Emma Buwalda con­trol­ling traf­fic un­der the at­tack­ing post and her con­sis­tency this sea­son will con­tinue to put the De­mons in good stead. But she has plenty of qual­ity out the front to sup­port her with Sheri­dan Petering, Paige Lloyd and Ab­bie Avery do­ing plenty of hard run­ning through the mid­dle.

An up­set re­sult might cause a mid­sea­son stir.

Nhill will head down the Western High­way, stop­ping at Cen­tral Park in Stawell in what is an im­por­tant match for both sides – in fact it could be a shoot out.

For the Tigers, a win will keep them in touch with the top five. A win for the Warriors sees them get that first chip against a side above them. Round-eight re­sults: Ararat d Stawell 71-44, Minyip-mur­toa d Nhill 50-32, War­rack Ea­gles d Dim­boola 51-32, Hor­sham d Hor­sham Saints 58-44.

PASS: Minyip­mur­toa’s Ste­vie Bibby looks to pass around her Nhill op­po­nent.

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