Undergunned Eagles should still fly high at Finley

August 11, 2017

Big win in the book: Echuca United defeated Rumbalara by 39 goals, with Breanna Bookham integral as usual.Breanna Bookham of Echuca United during the MFNL A grade netball match between Echuca United and Rumbalara. Photo by Luke Hemer.

ECHUCA United A grade will be without two of its key players in tomorrow’s Murray Netball League split round.

Premiership goal shooter Sophie Atkinson and new defender Klarindah Hudson will be in Canada taking part in the 2017 World Indigenous Basketball Challenge.

They competed against a North American team in the first round at UBC in Vancouver for the second annual Challenge.

This year’s tournament will showcase 16 men’s teams and eight women’s teams from around the world and runs from August 8-14.

Atkinson and Hudson were part of a team of nine women competing for Australia’s Maal-Ya Indigenous women’s team.

Danny Morseu, a player in Australia’s men’s side, was coaching the women and June Bamblett was the team manager.

They played their first game against Vancouver’s All My Relations team on Tuesday, Australia going down 45-52.

Hudson’s defensive prowess was showcased in the match with four defensive rebounds and two steals — a nice two-pointer and four assists rounding out her performance.

Atkinson also finished the game with a two-point score and an assist.

Their inclusion in the Challenge has left the Eagles undermanned this weekend at Finley.

And last week’s split round showed you couldn’t underestimate a team desperate for a place in finals.

Finley was pushed outside the top six by Congupna on Saturday after a five-goal upset over Tongala, formerly second on the ladder.

United looked to improve its ladder position of fifth with a win tomorrow moving them into fourth above Deniliquin.

Amy Gledhill would be key to the Eagles defence, but exactly who will join her under the post will depend on the day.

Coach Elle Florance is still battling with a knee injury while Liv Bish has been known to play a defensive role in previous games.

Finley’s own defence could prove problematic for the Eagles as their solid combination in the ring made it difficult for Atkinson and goal attack Gracie Berryman in their previous encounter.

And with Atkinson out, the Eagles will need to create plenty of scoring opportunities with defensive pressure key in tomorrow’s game.

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