Na­timuk team to beat

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Sport - BY COLIN MACGILLIVR­AY

With Horsham Dis­trict net­ball fi­nals start­ing on Satur­day, the ques­tion on ev­ery­body’s lips is, ‘who can stop Na­timuk United?’

The Ewes have primed them­selves for an as­sault on a third straight A Grade pre­mier­ship with an un­de­feated home and away cam­paign.

The most likely chal­lenger ap­pears to be La­harum, which has con­sis­tently pushed the Ewes to the brink of de­feat dur­ing the past two sea­sons, but Har­row-bal­moral also looms as a pre­mier­ship smoky af­ter overcoming an in­jury-rid­dled year.

Swifts have con­tin­ued their feel­good trans­for­ma­tion from com­pe­ti­tion punch­ing bag to peren­nial fi­nals contender, while 2018 pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal­ist Eden­hope-ap­s­ley and Kal­kee round out the top six.

The Ewes showed the gulf be­tween them­selves and the lower reaches of the six by dis­man­tling the Kees 67-29 at the week­end.

The ex­pe­ri­ence of Na­timuk United’s many veter­ans showed through as a 52-goal per­for­mance from goal shooter Shan­non Couch led the rout.

Kal­kee will now re­group ahead of the fi­nals but can draw con­fi­dence from the strong at­tack­ing

play of mid­courter Rianna Kuhne and shooter Hay­ley Thomas.

La­harum also recorded a win against Eden­hope-ap­s­ley, al­though it came in bizarre cirum­stances.

The Demons led 44-13 when the Saints de­cided to for­feit the match.

Four Saints, in­clud­ing co-coaches El­lie Thomas and Sarah Do­maschenz, were side­lined with in­juries dur­ing the game and de­cided to aban­don it to the pre­serve them­selves for fi­nals.

Har­row-bal­moral made short work of Jeparit-rain­bow af­ter a rel­a­tively close first half, ex­tend­ing an eight-goal ad­van­tage at the long break to 20 by the fi­nal whis­tle.

Amy Lewis con­nected on 36 shots in the goal ring, with Brittany Keller start­ing along­side her at goal at­tack be­fore switch­ing to goal de­fence in the fi­nal quar­ter.

With coach Ebonie Sal­ter sit­ting the game out, young Roo Olivia Mul­doon earned play­ing time at wing at­tack and goal at­tack.

Jeparit-rain­bow ex­per­i­mented with its line-up dur­ing the 55-35 loss, with all play­ers ex­cept goal at­tack Bre­anna Ea­stick swap­ping bibs at least once dur­ing the af­ter­noon.

Swifts put the fi­nal touches on a fourth-place fin­ish with a 59-42 win against Ru­pa­nyp, driven by de­fend­ers Erin Freeland and Sarah Mor­ris.

It was a com­pet­i­tive fi­nal show­ing for the 1-15 Pan­thers, who have dealt with in­juries through­out the year.

Ru­pa­nyup coach and goal de­fence Kayla Woods was again solid, while Emma Downes im­pressed at goal at­tack.

No­rad­juha-quan­tong missed the fi­nals but ended its sea­son on a high note in a 53-35 vic­tory against Tay­lors Lake.

Lucy Brand and Louisa Vague were the Bombers’ best, while Grace Dixon con­tin­ued to be one of the Lak­ers’ lead­ing lights in de­fence.

Elim­i­na­tion fi­nals kick off this week­end with Har­row-bal­moral tak­ing on Kal­kee at North Park, Stawell, on Satur­day, while Swifts and Eden­hope-ap­s­ley will do bat­tle at Kal­kee on Sun­day.

See the 20-page liftout in to­day’s The Weekly Ad­ver­tiser for full fi­nals pre­views.

ON TAR­GET: Na­timuk United vet­eran Shan­non Couch shot 52 goals in her side’s 67-29 win against Kal­kee at the week­end.

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