Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Echuca netballers in fine form for semi-final

Echuca's A grade netballers are confident going into tomorrow's semi-final against Shepparton Swans.

ERIN LYONS September 5, 2014 3:05am

Somewhere amid the scores of eager football fans, men in petite shorts, nonsense jargon, over-enthusiastic parents and meat pies, some exciting stuff will be transpiring on Moon Oval’s adjacent netball courts tomorrow.

With six wins on the trot, Echuca’s A grade netball side is looking well-conditioned ahead of tomorrow’s Goulburn Valley Netball League semi-final against Shepparton Swans.

Who knew the road to success would be nominating your key defender and goaler to trade positions half way through the season.

Yet, according to Echuca coach Gina Pearson, it has worked a treat for the Murray Bombers.

Echuca’s Ange Slattery moved into attack, while Emily Atkinson took the reins in defence in a comeback victory against the Shepparton Bears (round six) — and they have not looked back.

Pearson said the Murray Bombers lost most of their matches earlier in the year in the absence of key players, Ebony Butler and Charlotte Long.

While Echuca lost to the Swans (55-35) in round eight, in Pearson’s eyes ‘‘it was probably our worst game for the season’’.‘‘We made a lot of improvements since we last played Swans back in June,’’ she said.‘‘We lacked that consistency.‘‘But after a few changes, I’m really confident about the weekend.’’Brandishing no injuries, the fully fit Murray Bombers squad could give the Swans outfit a shock if it is not cautious.‘‘We are feeling pretty good, coming off six wins in a row,’’ Pearson said.‘‘We are just so excited to play finals, the atmosphere is always great.‘‘And as a team we have gone from strength to strength this year.’’Shepparton United will go toe-to-toe with Seymour in the qualifying final, while Benalla and Shepparton Bears will face-off in the GVNL elimination final.■The B grade rivalry boasts some interesting conflicts, with all of the Shepparton teams proving their dominance in the GVNL.

Minor premier Echuca has booked itself a qualifying final date with Seymour, while Shepparton Bears should end Mansfield’s premiership fairy-tale and Shepparton United and Shepparton Swans will go head-to-head.

Where there’s life there’s hope and Mansfield’s B reserve outfit will keep its grand final hopes alive if it can knock off Shepparton Bears in an upset at the weekend.

Shepparton Swans and Seymour will vie for a spot in the semi-finals, while Shepparton United and Kyabram will face-off in what should be a fevered contest.

Again, Echuca will have something to celebrate if its under 17s netball side can advance through to the semi-finals.

Unfortunately the Murray Bombers have a task ahead of them if they are to defeat Shepparton Swans tomorrow.

In their last encounter, Echuca came off second best in a nail-biting one-goal loss.

Shepparton Bears will front Kyabram and Shepparton United will battle it out on Sunday against Benalla.

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