Bench­mark set

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Wfl Finals - BY COURT­NEY CLOUGH

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.

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