The ‘dark horse’

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Hdfnl Finals - BY SARAH SCULLY

South­ern Mallee Gi­ants were la­belled the ‘dark horse’ of the Horsham District A Grade com­pe­ti­tion in 2016, but sig­nif­i­cant in­juries late in the sea­son dashed the team’s fi­nals hopes.

The Gi­ants have earned the same tag in their sec­ond year in the league – the ma­jor dif­fer­ence be­ing this sea­son, coach Kelly Gray has a full team at her dis­posal. South­ern Mallee has won 12 of its 16 matches and gen­er­ated plenty of spec­u­la­tion from op­po­si­tion teams about what it is ca­pa­ble of.

Gray said she was feel­ing fairly con­fi­dent head­ing into the fi­nals se­ries.

“I think we have the abil­ity to do well, but it will come down to each game,” she said. “The com­pe­ti­tion is so even this year, any­thing can hap­pen.”

The Gi­ants have a ver­sa­tile out­fit, with sev­eral play­ers able to slot into var­i­ous po­si­tions.

The ac­cu­racy of Codie Robins and Annabel Ste­wart has been a high­light – if they are on song, they are hard to beat.

“Codie is quick and has a strong hold. She’s de­cep­tively tough for her size,” Gray said. “Annabel has been away the past cou­ple of weeks but she’s a very ac­cu­rate shooter. She also helps out a lot to bring the ball down the court.”

The Gi­ants also have a strong mid­court, with Kim­ber­ley Shan­non adept at win­ning the ball and feed­ing it to the goalies.

One of the team’s big­gest strengths is the tal­ent and ex­pe­ri­ence of cen­tres Emma Mill and An­nie Noo­nan.

Noo­nan was a great pick-up for the Gi­ants mid-way through the sea­son and adds strength and depth to the mid­court and de­fence.

“They are both steady play­ers who are very safe with the ball and play a de­fen­sive role. They both have fi­nals ex­pe­ri­ence and are great lead­ers,” Gray said.

New­comer Caitlin Hickey has led the de­fence this sea­son, aided by Noo­nan, Trudi Hal­lam and Court­ney Ware­ham.

Nicki Dal­ton, who also plays C Grade, is an­other de­fen­sive op­tion.

Gray be­lieves her side’s big­gest as­set is its com­po­sure.

“We have a be­lief in our­selves that as long as we keep in touch, we can make up the deficit,” she said.

The Gi­ants play No­rad­juha-quan­tong at Stawell’s North Park on Sun­day.

“I think it’s go­ing to come down to what hap­pens on each given day,” Gray said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.