The Weekly Advertiser Horsham

Natimuk in finals fight

- BY SARAH MATTHEWS

Natimuk United will throw everything it has at Kanivaleeo­r United on Saturday as it fights to remain in the hunt for a Horsham District finals berth.

The Rams’ A Grade outfit is sitting seventh, on equal points with sixthplace­d Swifts and four points clear of Kalkee.

While the ladder’s sixth spot is technicall­y still swinging, Swifts have the easier draw, with matches against lower-ranked Pimpinio and Rupanyup to come.

Natimuk United will host fourthplac­ed Kaniva-leeor United this week before taking on second-placed Noradjuha-quantong in the last round of the revised home-and-away season.

It’s a tough ask, but the Rams will be taking it the proverbial ‘one week at a time’, starting with the Cougars.

Kaniva-leeor United was no match for ladder leader Laharum last week, falling short in wet conditions by 25 goals, 27-52.

Goalies Nikki Hawker and Hailee Witmitz worked hard but were stifled by Demons defenders Rebecca Mcintyre and Ema Iredell.

The Cougars will not find the going any easier this week, up against the experience­d combinatio­n of Jo Taylor and Casey Vanstan.

The Rams are coming off a confidence-boosting 55-goal win over Pimpinio, with Aleisha Rintoule, 45, starring in the encounter.

Team-mate Emily Hateley and her Cougars counterpar­t Ellen Bennett will play key roles through the centre.

The Rams have finally started to settle into a good rhythm and cannot be discounted, although the Cougars will not give any leeway, particular­ly with a chance to steal third spot from Harrow-balmoral among possibilit­ies.

Swifts, who fell short of Harrow-balmoral by 25 goals in round 11, will not take their foot off the pedal as they look to shore up sixth position.

Michaela Armer was again a standout, shooting 28 goals in the loss, and Pimpinio defenders Deni Sordello and Anna Habel – best on court last week – are in for a long day.

Harrow-balmoral will continue its march towards finals, but will not take fifth-placed Jeparit-rainbow lightly.

While the Southern Roos should win comfortabl­y, the Storm is more than capable of a strong performanc­e.

The Storm defeated Rupanyup by 18 goals, with goalies Breanna Eastick, 38, and Georgia Batson, 28, winning accolades.

The goalies will find the going tougher this week, with Roos defenders

Ebonie Salter and Kate Vickery likely to curb opportunit­ies and steal any rebounds.

Roos shooter Kirby Knight, 49, and midcourter Olivia Muldoon led the way in their side’s 25-goal triumph over Swifts and will be out to propel their team to victory at Jeparit.

The very few people allowed to spectate can expect a good midcourt battle between young talent on both sides.

With finals rapidly approachin­g, these teams have plenty to play for.

Harrow-balmoral is only four points clear in third and cannot afford to drop a game – particular­ly with a showdown against the Cougars pencilled in the following week.

The Roos are only trailing Noradjuha-quantong by four points but are unlikely to make up the deficit, with the Bombers meeting a struggling Edenhope-apsley on Saturday.

The Saints have had an extended break with a bye against Taylors Lake in round 11, but will struggle to match a determined Bombers outfit looking to secure second spot and a finals double chance.

The Bombers put the nail in the coffin of Kalkee’s finals aspiration­s last week, leading at each change to triumph 55-33.

Brooke Pay was again stoic in defence, with Jayne Tucker starring in a multitude of roles.

Kalkee will have nothing to lose when it steps out against Laharum at home.

The Kees, led by defender Katie Ruwoldt and centre Millie Mcrae last week, will not leave anything on the court as they make the Demons work for their four points.

Kalkee defender Casey Jess should enjoy a good tussle with Laharum shooter Caitlin Dumesny, who finished with a game-high 31 goals against the Cougars.

Rupanyup has a bye. Results: Laharum d Kaniva-leeor United 52-27, Noradjuha-quantong d Kalkee 50-33, Harrow-balmoral d Swifts 6035, Natimuk United d Pimpinio 67-12, Jeparit-rainbow d Rupanyup 66-48.

 ??  ?? Natimuk United’s Aleisha Rintoule
Natimuk United’s Aleisha Rintoule

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