Sport

Shepparton United and Echuca trade blows

By Alex Mitchell

A potential finals preview will be on offer at Deakin Reserve tomorrow when Shepparton United and Echuca trade blows in a titanic Goulburn Valley League netball battle.

The contest will have the second-ranked Demons try to avenge their round-three loss to the Murray Bombers, who are third with an identical 10-3 record.

United brings the slightly better form to the game having won four straight games and eight of its past nine.

It showed its strength on both sides of the ball last weekend in a 67-20 dismantling of Benalla with Sarah Bohn, Bree Hanslow and Olivia Kirby among the stars.

Captain Kirsty Hommes said United had a point to prove from the round three loss, where the side lost every quarter of the 62-46 result.

‘‘We’re pretty excited in a way, Echuca absolutely steamrolled us the last time we played them,’’ she said.

‘‘We’ve been playing some pretty good netball recently and we’re looking forward to getting out there and hopefully doing a lot better.’’

But Echuca’s recent form should not be underestimated either; the Murray Bombers produced a stellar performance last weekend to smash a highly-touted Seymour that had won its past four games.

They won convincingly by 24 goals, bouncing back well from a nail-biting one-goal loss to Tatura the week before.

Coach Gina Pearson said the Seymour performance had been sound, but the next challenge was to take down another in-form side.

‘‘We’re working on things to combat their tall, young side,’’ she said.

‘‘We’re probably pretty similar, we’ve both got strength in attack and youth in defence. It was an easy win last time, but I would suggest it won’t be that easy this time.’’

Hommes hinted the game could be won in the midcourt, with both attack ends firing on all cylinders in recent times.

‘‘We had a big chat and really looked at what Tatura did to beat them,’’ she said.

‘‘We really have to shut down and get pressure on their shooters, and we don’t think our shooters should have too much trouble. We’ll put plenty of work in stopping them in the mid-court.’’

Pearson said her side would benefit from the return of tall defensive linchpin Bridget Byrne — if she can squeeze her into the line-up after strong defence last weekend.