Horsham District netball | Laharum hosts Natimuk United

BIG GAME: Laharum's Rebecca McIntyre and Natimuk United's Shannon Couch go head to head in last season's preliminary final. Picture: SAMANTHA CAMARRI
BIG GAME: Laharum's Rebecca McIntyre and Natimuk United's Shannon Couch go head to head in last season's preliminary final. Picture: SAMANTHA CAMARRI

JUST 9.04 per cent separates Laharum from its closest challengers Natimuk United in the Horsham District league’s A Grade netball. 

Both sides are undefeated and will meet at Cameron Oval at the weekend in a top of the table clash. 

Laharum will be looking to move on from last season’s preliminary final loss to the Ewes that ended the side’s finals hopes. Despite Laharum’s hold on top spot, Natimuk United is arguably the team to catch – it won last season’s premiership and has hardly put a foot wrong this season.

Laharum coach Rebecca McIntyre said her side was well prepared.

“All of our preparation has been towards lining up against Natimuk United and they are the team to beat,” she said.

“They have the skill and experience. We are going to have a full side, so we will have no excuses.”

McIntyre said her side was firmly focused on this week’s match-up and wouldn’t be discussing last season’s preliminary final loss.

“We are going to soak this up and hopefully will be competitive and come away with a win,” she said.

“We discussed last season’s finals at the end of the year and dealt with it then. We set our team goals at the start of this season and looked at what team we want to be.

“They are an extremely well-drilled team and have played together for a while now. Cheryl Sudholz is the key to her team – she is poised and extremely experienced. We need some good match-ups and put pressure on their passing.”

Natimuk United coach Cheryl Sudholz said having played one game of netball in the past month would be a disadvantage her side would have to work through.

“We’ve been trying to keep busy but it’s not the same as getting match time and court fitness can disappear quickly,” she said.

“There are some slight niggling injuries but there’s nothing too stressful yet. We should have our full side and whatever the combinations are we should be able to make some swaps. We have quite a versatile team.”

Sudholz said defensive pressure would be key to getting the win. 

“It’s going to be a tough battle and our defensive pressure has to be there across the board,” she said. 

“We can’t slip up a quarter because the game could just disappear. We will need to put a lot of pressure on their shooters. More often than not Caitlin Story is on and she can shoot from anywhere.

“It comes down to the rebounds, which there are always a lot of. If you can capitalise on rebounds that’s where you can start to build a lead. I can’t see it being a big advantage either way.”

In the other games Noradjuha-Quantong will host the Swifts, Taylors Lake will travel to Pimpinio, Harrow-Balmoral is off to Rupanyup and Jeparit-Rainbow welcomes Kalkee. Edenhope-Apsley has the bye.