TRADITIONAL rivals Stawell and Ararat will face their first major test of the 2014 Wimmera Netball Association season on Sunday.
Both teams chalked up convincing wins in round one, with the Warriors defeating Minyip-Murtoa by 19 goals and the Rats disposing of Nhill 58-30.
The sides last met in last year’s preliminary final in Ararat, with the Rats winning by two goals in a thriller to knock the Warriors out of finals contention.
Both Stawell and Ararat have experienced a few changes in the off-season, and Rats coach Rebecca Skrabl said she was looking forward to their first encounter this year.
“It’s important for us to be able to apply strong pressure early,” she said.
Skrabl is also looking forward to her first game of the season.
“I missed round one because of prior commitments, but I’m happy with how it all went,” she said.
Young defenders Tiffany Boatman and Danielle Borrelli and midcourt player Lauri Williamson are all set to gain vital senior experience this year.
The Rats have also welcomed back veteran goalie and five-time Heather Hatcher medallist Megan Shea, who had a year off last year.
Stawell introduced a new-look outfit under coach Kelly Cosson in round one and will be keen to continue on its winning way.
Two-time reigning premier Horsham sent a clear message to the rest of the competition in round one, defeating last year’s finals contenders Warrack Eagles by 40 goals.
The Demons have their sights firmly set on their third consecutive premiership crown and will make life difficult for Horsham Saints on Friday.
The sides will line up in an Anzac Day clash at Horsham City Oval.
Dimboola will be out to claim its second consecutive win when it hosts Minyip-Murtoa on Saturday.
The Burras will be looking to bounce back from their round one loss to Stawell.
Warrack Eagles and Nhill are also chasing their first win of the season.
Both teams endured tough opening clashes and will be eager to get their first points on the board.