By David Nagel
Trying to stop Bunyip from scoring heavily is one of the biggest challenges in West Gippsland netball this season and one that Nar Nar Goon will tackle head on when the Bulldogs and Goon collide at Bunyip on Saturday.
The Bulldogs have been a free-scoring outfit all year with Jasmin Mackie the pre-eminent goaler in the competition and Kyra Esler a hard-working GA with some wonderful passing skills.
Ally Johnson, Chloe Papley and Jess Fowler will no doubt cause the Goon midcourt some headaches, while Sam Hodge and Olivia Hunt are one of the best defensive units doing the rounds.
But don’t write off the Goon just yet, because they possess some absolute quality of their own.
Defenders Hollie Keysers and Hannah Carney will relish the challenge of taking on Mackie and Esler, while Karly Meinecke, Chantelle Dale and Bec Cox are perfectly equipped to even things out through the midcourt.
And Toni Dart has a wealth of experience that could fluster the Hodge/Hunt duo in the Goon’s scoring circle.
This one should be a beauty between the third and fifth ranked teams in the competition, with the Goon’s defensive pressure the thing to keep an eye on most.
Limit supply to Mackie and the Goon could realistically sneak away with the win.
But we’ll go for the Bulldogs to prevail in a close one.
Cora Lynn will fight for its final’s survival this week when the Cobras travel to Cowes to take on Phillip Island.
The Cobras – seventh – sit two games and percentage behind the Bulldogs in sixth place.
But the Bulldogs have a tremendously tough draw in the run home, so a Cobras’ win here could open the door to a finals berth.
Cora Lynn will need big games from the likes of Bianca Douglas, Ellie Keen, Emily Brook, Gemma Stacey and Maddi Taylor if they are going to get across the line in this one.
Christie Edwards will be keen to fend off the Cobras’ challenge and lead the home side to victory.
In a flip-of-the-coin, we’ll go for the Bulldogs to win by five.
In other games this week, Dalyston should prove too good for a struggling Kooweerup, while ladder-leaders Inverloch-Kongwak should expect a tough game against Korumburra-Bena.
The Giants currently sit eighth, but their most recent performance – going down to Tooradin-Dalmore by just seven goals – suggests they might finish the season off strongly.
But former Giant, now Sea Eagle, Kelsey Buxton is in terrific form through the midcourt and should lead the Sea Eagles to their fifth-consecutive victory.
Tooradin-Dalmore has the bye.
A GRADE W L D F A PTS %
Inverloch-Kongwak 11 1 0 618 296 44 208.78
Tooradin-Dalmore 11 1 0 558 397 44 140.55
Bunyip 9 3 0 671 385 36 174.29
Dalyston 9 3 0 439 327 36 134.25
Nar Nar Goon 9 3 0 517 430 36 120.23
Phillip Island 7 5 0 596 469 28 127.08
Cora Lynn 5 7 0 448 446 20 100.45
Korumburra Bena 5 7 0 415 456 20 91.01
Warragul Industrials 3 9 0 413 663 12 62.29
Garfield 2 10 0 368 527 8 69.83
Koo Wee Rup 1 11 0 272 679 4 40.06
Kilcunda Bass 0 12 0 0 240 0 0.00