Air of con­fi­dence

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

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.”

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