Look out league, the United of old is firmly on the march

June 13, 2017

Gracie Berryman of Echuca United during the MFNL netball A grade match between Echuca United and Finley. Photo by Luke Hemer.

ECHUCA United A grade has well and truly emerged as one of the top contenders of the Murray Netball League after crushing Deniliquin Rams on Saturday.

The Eagles dominated the mid-court in the 31-goal thrashing at Deniliquin and were close to their grand final form, only making minor changes in their defensive line-up throughout the game.

Olivia Bish and Tilly Keenan shared the wing defence role, while Amy Gledhill (GK) and Klarindah Hudson-Proctor (GD) played most of the game in the ring.

Coach Elle Florance came on in goal keeper the third quarter, giving Gledhill a run out in goal defence.

‘‘It was a tough game again today,’’ Florance said.

‘‘We match up pretty well with Deniliquin.

‘‘It was very physical, but our mid-courters and our attackers helped to slow it down and make it our game today.’’

The Rams star goal shooter Bec White was away for the game with some under 17 players stepping up to take on the role.

Eliza Eastman and Kate McCalman shared the goal circle and despite some good rotation struggled to find space against United’s defence.

Florance said it made for an incredibly physical contest under the ring.

‘‘I think our versatility in the defensive end helped to match up against them,’’ she said.

They set up a five-goal lead in the first quarter and restricted the Rams to six goals in the second to be up 26-13 at half time.

The Eagles scored 11 goals in the third quarter for an 18-goal advantage heading into the final term.

‘‘Our attack end was really crucial in the win today,’’ Florance said.

‘‘They worked on our systems, used our angles and were feeding really well to each other.’’

Florance was most impressed with the goaling line-up Sophie Atkinson (GS) and Gracie Berryman (GA) which found another level this week.

‘‘The combination of Sophie and Gracie is really coming along in leaps and bounds,’’ she said.

‘‘We played without a GA for a few minutes and still managed to put some goals on the board.’’

Berryman cut her lip in the final quarter and couldn’t stop the bleeding, meaning she was off the court for a few minutes.

Tanner Edwards eventually came on in GA to run out the game 51-20.

Their leap from fifth into third on the ladder the previous week meant the club’s eight sides were all inside the top three with B and C grade, C-reserve and the under 15s sitting top of the table following round nine.

‘‘It just shows the depth we have at the club and the desire to be strong across all grades,’’ Florance said.

A grade were still third on the ladder behind Numurkah and Moama and play Barooga at home this weekend.

The Hawks have recorded one win this season over Rumbalara and have struggled to get within 20 goals of the top five sides making it a game United should win.

—Jess Gledhill

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