Horsham on track for run at flag
Horsham’s quest to avenge last year’s one-goal Wimmera Netball Association A Grade grand final loss remains on track as teams near the halfway point of the season.
After Saturday every team will have played each other once, and Horsham looks to have primed itself for another run at a flag.
The Demons will face a tough opponent in the Warrack Eagles, but sent an ominous warning to the rest of the league with a ruthless 34-goal win against second-placed Ararat at the weekend.
The Rats entered round eight undefeated, but were unable to withstand a withering onslaught by the Demons in the second quarter after trailing by just three goals at the first change.
Goal defence Krystal Fisher has been one of Ararat’s best players this season but could not dam the torrent of goals unleashed by Horsham goalie Emma Buwalda.
Buwalda netted 17 of her 20 attempts in the second quarter to extend the Demons’ lead to 19 at the long break, then followed it up with 25 goals in the second half to cap the 77-43 win.
With the game safely in hand the Demons experimented with their line-up in the third quarter, running Georgie Carberry through the centre and pushing
Paige Lloyd to wing attack. The Rats also tinkered with their line-up, moving Tayla Borrelli into goals in the second half and shuffling Taylor Mason from goal attack to goal keeper.
Ararat is in serious danger of losing two on the trot as it prepares for a road game against ladder-leader Minyipmurtoa.
The Burras will have beaten every side in the association if they can see off the Rats, and appear to be in top form after a 51-goal throttling of bottom side Nhill.
Minyip-murtoa put on a clinic in the second quarter with 28 goals to Nhill’s seven.
The Burras smothered Nhill through the midcourt as the Tigers failed to score more than 10 goals in a quarter until the fourth.
Alex Lang’s intercept work at goal defence was impeccable as usual and Hayley Campbell worked hard at wing attack to apply pressure to Nhill opponents Lauren Tink and Jenna Schneider.
Burra Kirby Knight was the beneficiary of plenty of Campbell’s passes and finished with 51 goals in the 84-33 win.
The Tigers have been a punching bag for some of the league’s top sides this season but will be fired up on Saturday when they take on Stawell.
The Warriors and Tigers are both winless, and the opportunity to earn some premiership points will be a huge motivation for both teams.
Stawell can take heart from its performance against Dimboola at the weekend, which, while ultimately unsuccessful, showed plenty of positive signs.
The Warriors found themselves ahead by four goals at half-time thanks in large part to the tireless work of Tarnee Orr at centre and Courtney Mcilvride at wing defence, who helped turn defence into attack and provide opportunities for Ebony Summers and Jemma Clarkson in goals.
Although the Roos steadied the ship in the third quarter and eventually won 49-42, the Warriors can hold their heads high. Goal attack Billie-jo Barber finished with 24 goals to be named best for Dimboola, which now takes on Horsham Saints.
The Saints were tested by Southern Mallee Giants, but did enough to keep their noses in front at every change and come away with a 48-44 win.
Gabby O’brien worked hard at wing defence and Abby Hallam slotted 35 goals to lead the reigning premiers, while for the Giants it was former Saints best and fairest winner Marnie Lehmann who shone at goal defence and goal keeper.
The Giants could have leapfrogged the Saints and climbed into the top five with a win, but now face an uphill battle to challenge for a finals spot in the second half of the season.
They have a bye this weekend.
ON TARGET: Horsham Saint Abby Hallam shot 35 goals to help her side to a four-goal win against Southern Mallee Giants at the weekend. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER