Saints and Bur­ras butt heads

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Classified­s - BY COLIN MACGILLIVR­AY

Two-time reign­ing premier Hor­sham Saints will butt heads with Minyip-mur­toa in a Wim­mera Net­ball As­so­ci­a­tion pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal showdown at Dim­boola on Sun­day.

The Saints looked poised to re­peat their fi­nals hero­ics of the past two sea­sons when they came from fifth place to win two flags, hav­ing notched strong wins against War­rack Eagles in an elim­i­na­tion fi­nal and Ararat in Sun­day’s first semi-fi­nal.

The Bur­ras, mean­while, must re­group quickly from a dev­as­tat­ing 30goal loss to Hor­sham in Saturday’s sec­ond semi-fi­nal.

The win saw the Demons ad­vance straight to the grand fi­nal, where they await the win­ner of Sun­day’s pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal.

If they play as they did on Saturday, the premiershi­p could be theirs for the tak­ing.

The Demons shocked the Bur­ras with a first-quar­ter blitz in which they scored 21 goals, 17 of them com­ing from the hot hand of Emma Buwalda.

The shell-shocked Bur­ras found them­selves down by 13 goals af­ter only a quar­ter and were un­able to recover.

De­spite the best ef­forts of goal keeper Taylor Men­tha and goal de­fence Alex Lang, as well as El­lie Mcgrath at wing

de­fence, the mar­gin con­tin­ued to bal­loon, re­sult­ing in a 60-30 loss.

Buwalda fin­ished the game with 45 goals but Hor­sham had win­ners all over the court.

Georgie Car­berry and Romi Miller spent time along­side Buwalda in the goal ring, while Ge­or­gia His­cock and Faith Mcken­zie kept dan­ger­ous Minyip-mur­toa goalie Kirby Knight to 17 made shots.

Bur­ras coach Bil­lie Bibby said while the loss set her team on its heels, the side had proven it­self ca­pa­ble of re­bound­ing quickly.

The Bur­ras lost to Ararat in the fi­nal round of the home-and-away sea­son be­fore storm­ing back to beat the Rats in fi­nals a week later.

“I don’t think it will put a dent in our con­fi­dence,” Bibby said.

“Speak­ing to all of the girls af­ter the game, they knew they didn’t play their best and they knew as a team we didn’t play our best.

“We know that we can play a lot bet­ter than we did and that’s what we’re go­ing to fo­cus on this week­end.”

Bibby said it was im­per­a­tive her team did not give away another big start to Hor­sham Saints.

The Saints them­selves will be look­ing to make some ad­just­ments of their own af­ter over­com­ing a slug­gish first half to run over Ararat at the week­end.

Trail­ing by four goals at the long break, coach Shan­non Cross opted to bring on tow­er­ing goal de­fence Rene Caris, and the move yielded im­me­di­ate re­sults.

With windy con­di­tions at Nhill wreak­ing havoc on goalies, Caris used her height to se­cure re­bounds and send the ball back the Saints’ way.

At the other end her sis­ter Mag­gie used her height to sim­i­lar ad­van­tage, fin­ish­ing the af­ter­noon with 37 goals in a 45-36 win.

Ararat’s Rac­quel Scott bat­tled hard against Saint goal at­tack Lavinia Fox, but Krys­tal Fisher sim­ply did not have the height to counter Mag­gie Caris.

At the other end of the court, Hor­sham Saints’ Larnie Hobbs was terrific against Taylor Ma­son.

Cross said she had opted to in­te­grate Rene Caris into the team slowly af­ter she missed most of the sea­son with foot­ball com­mit­ments, but said she was likely to start the de­fender on Sun­day.

“The only rea­son we’ve started her on the bench the past cou­ple of games is be­cause she hasn’t had a lot of court time with the team through­out the sea­son,” she said.

“Com­ing into the next cou­ple games that will change.

“I don’t think Minyip-mur­toa can have too many bad games in a row, and I feel like they’re go­ing to bounce back and be de­ter­mined to knock us out.

“It’s go­ing to be tough. Their de­fen­sive pres­sure is very tight, so we’ll have to take care of the ball and be short and sharp down the court and try not to throw the ball away.” of

PRES­SURE: Hor­sham’s Emma Buwalda is sur­rounded by Ash­lee Knight and El­lie Mcgrath, Minyip­mur­toa. Pic­ture: PAUL CAR­RACHER

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