Air of confidence
After an almost-perfect season, Laharum will enter this year’s Horsham District finals season as the hunted.
The minor premier is in strong form after having dropped only one game for the season, going down to Southern Mallee Giants by 10 goals in round 11.
Laharum coach Liz Reddie said she was feeling confident ahead of this year’s finals series.
“I’m glad we had a defeat throughout the year. It pulls us up and shows we can be beaten,” she said.
“The Giants were the better team on the day. They’re the up-andcomers and a team to be wary of in the finals.”
The Demons recruited well in the off-season, with former Noradjhua-quantong premiership player Rebecca Mcintyre adding valuable height in goals and defence.
Attracting Mcauliffe sisters Aily and Jordie from fellow district league side Kalkee and Ally Hiscock from Wimmera outfit Horsham has added speed and depth to the midcourt.
“We’re definitely stronger this year than we were last year,” Reddie said.
“Beck’s height is a real advantage. Her arm span is amazing and she’s great at both ends of the court. Aily plays in centre and is very fast. She also defends very well down the court.
“Ally is also a speedy little player and has good height for centre and wing attack. Jordie hasn’t played for us much but when she does it’s like she’s been with us all year.”
The Demons have a versatile team, with Jordie Mcauliffe, Mcintyre and Mel Russell sharing the load in goals alongside pivotal shooter Caitlin Story.
Story is having a fantastic season and any team hoping to get the better of Laharum will need to curb her influence.
“Caitlin has been shooting amazingly. I can’t fault her,” Reddie said.
Laharum is also miserly in defence. The team had 419 goals scored against it this season, at least 50 less than any other.
Mcintyre’s height is a strong advantage, particularly against Natimuk United, with many defenders struggling to steal rebounds against tall shooter Shannon Couch.
Ema Iredell, Erin Mellington and Adele Rohde have also been influential in defence this season. “Ema is really good every week. She reads the ball well and moves the ball down the court very well,” Reddie said.
“Erin and Adele have been strong all year. They also move the ball very well out of defence.”
Reddie said her team’s biggest strengths were its height, accuracy and speed.
She said she looked forward to her charges kickstarting their finals campaign in a fortnight after earning a week off.
Reddie said although she was confident in her team’s ability, she would still be wary of Southern Mallee Giants and reigning premier Harrow-balmoral.
“Harrow-balmoral is still up there,” she said.
“Even though we’ve beaten them twice, you can’t afford to discount them.”