If there is anything obvious in Wimmera Netball Association finals this season it’s that Horsham is again the team to beat.
Regardless of dropping one game for the season, against Minyip-murtoa, the Demons continuously set the benchmark.
There is plenty to suggest that whoever beats Horsham in the finals will win the A Grade flag.
Horsham’s longevity as a netball powerhouse is impressive and every year the club, through a mixture of talent, strategy and structure, puts outstanding teams on the court.
This year has been no exception. Under the leadership of coach Pauline Butler, Horsham has set its own benchmark.
The philosophy at Horsham seems simple. The Demons know and understand what it takes to be successful and they are always fully aware they are the hunted.
Continuous success has meant internal competition for spots in Horsham’s A Grade squad is fierce.
Unlike many other A Grade outfits across the region, Horsham can replicate a promotionrelegation team system used at the highest levels of netball, simply based on form.
Good form is essential for any players to maintain the spots on the court and this in turn makes the Demons hard to beat.
Horsham will have a spell in the first week of finals, courtesy of finishing on top of the ladder, and coach Butler is sure to use the occasion to swot up on what opposition teams are bringing to the finals table. When the Demons finally hit the court people who gather courtside will be in for a smorgasbord of high-level entertainment.
For a start, teenage shooter Emma Buwalda has freakish ability and is simply dominating the competition. If she were a footballer she’d demand a tag. The amount of work she is doing shooting goals frees up her goal-attack team-mates who can concentrate on being extra connections between the goal ring and midcourters.
It remains to be seen what will happen if this connection is broken.
Working in this assistant-shooting role are Sheridan Petering and Olivia Jones and in the different atmosphere of finals, they are sure to have a greater influence on the scoreboard.
Horsham’s talent is far from restricted to the front half of the court. Through the middle, Abbie Avery and Paige Lloyd work with a great understanding and continually craft attacking forays.
Then there is experienced Mel Scott in defence, who is simply a nightmare for opposition goalies. She teams strongly with springheeled Georgia Hiscock.
The pair has a habit of disrupting opposition plans and getting the disputed ball to other defenders Georgie Carberry and Tamika Mentha.
Fitness is also paramount to Horsham success. Players are rarely missing from weekly gym sessions.
In summary, when it comes to Horsham it’s a case of catch me if you can.