The State Netball Centre will play host to an early top-of-the-table clash in round four of the Gold Industry Group West Australian Netball League.
Sunday’s showdown between the undefeated Western Roar and the second placed Southside Demons is sure to be closely watched by rivals.
Roar Coach Andrea McCulloch is well aware a win this weekend could see them get a break on the rest of the competition. But despite their hot 3-0 start, McCulloch believed there was plenty of room for improvement.
“It’s certainly been good to be able to get three wins on the board,” McCulloch said.
“We went from having five Australian Netball League players last year to no players this year so we’ve been lucky that we’ve been able to have our full squad throughout. We are mindful that the ladder is not necessarily a true reflection yet. But if we can get through it, it certainly sets us up.”
McCulloch said it had been an advantage to go into the season without much outside expectation.
“It means that they’re not focused on us and we can fly under the radar a little bit,” she said. “But it’s just a really great opportunity for us to build the belief that we have in ourselves, rather than getting caught up in the hype that others have.”
McCulloch said it was exciting to have the fixture against the Demons on Sunday.
“We certainly want to be putting out our best performance but we know the Demons are going to be particularly strong,” McCulloch said. “They are certainly going to push us and it’s going to be a tough match, which we certainly relish. You want to be playing teams that are challenging you so you can step up and take it to that next level so that’s something we’ll be hoping for on Sunday.
“They’ve obviously got two very good young shooters with Bec Lill and Meg Gallager so it’s going to be really important to shut down those options for them and turn over as much ball as we can.
“We’re encouraging everyone to come down and make a bit of a day of it. I think it will be a really great atmosphere.”
Demons Coach Tasha Richards is excited to welcome Brittany Turnbull from ANL duties.
“Really excited to have her experience and just her drive and leadership in the attack line,” Richards said.
“Just her ability to feed the ball, especially to Meg, will be a massive advantage.”
Richards said they would go into the match with the Roar feeling confident after good wins over the Curtin Hamersley Comets and the Souwest Jets and a loss to the East Fremantle Sharks through the opening rounds.
“We’re always confident but they definitely have had one of the more settled line ups so it will be a massive challenge for us but we think with the addition of Brittany we can certainly match them in attack,” Richards said. “Defensively it will be a really good challenge for our defenders to step up another level. It will be interesting. If we can pull together our 15-minute quarters and not fluctuate so much then hopefully we’ll be able to keep with them.”
Josie Janz-Dawson is a small chance to return this weekend from a knee reconstruction, while Alicia Janz (knee) and Phoebe Wilcox (work commitments) should return after their bye.
“It’s been pleasing to get the wins on the board early,” Richards said. “We’ve still been quite inconsistent so still searching for the right combinations and just getting consistency over the full 60 minutes.”
Gold Industry Group West Australian Netball League
Rangers v West Coast Warriors, State Netball Centre Court 1
East Freo Sharks v ECU Souwest Jets, Eaton Recreation Centre
Western Roar v Southside Demons, State Netball Centre Court 1
Bye: Curtin Hamersley Comets