ECHUCA’S A grade netball side is close to the best team in the Goulburn Valley League right now.
The only team better is this week’s opponent Shepparton.
We say almost every week that the Murray Bombers have a huge test, but it continues to be true.
Echuca is an unproven side as it stands, but if it can beat Shepparton then everyone outside of the twin towns will be saying what we have been saying for a number of weeks — the Murray Bombers are a genuine premiership threat.
■ ECHUCA UNITED has been gifted a chance to prove their worth in the Murray Netball League.
Following five weeks undefeated, Rohan Starkey and his team welcome Deniliquin Rams through the gates of Echuca South Rec Reserve.
The Rams have let a couple of sides come within three goals of a result — barring that they have demolished everything put in their path.
Deni are 8-0 with a game in hand on table-topping Rumbalara (a game which Deni won) and don’t look to be slowing down any time soon.
The average scoreline is a 52-37 win when Deni play, compared to United’s average of 35-34.
Starkey’s United will have to be at their best to put Deni under the pump, but that doesn’t mean they won’t give it a red hot go.
■ MOAMA was back to its silky best on Saturday, but, as coach Jacqui James told us, you learn more from your losses than your wins.
A grand final rematch against Tonny awaits on Saturday and if Moama plays the netball we are used to, it will be a huge test for Tongala.
But a win puts them back in line as the best in the league.
For TONGALA, it has some demons to face this week.
A strong netball side for the last few seasons, something just seems off.
And now they have to face the team who beat them in last year’s grand final which is not ideal.
Tongala is incredibly talented, we all know that.
It’s just a matter of executing this time around.
There is no bigger challenge than Moama.
So if the Blues can win, that’s a very clear message — ‘‘we’re back’’.
■ LEITCHVILLE-GUNBOWER is struggling in the Heathcote and District Netball League.
Pre-season talk of wanting to deliver a premiership is looking highly unlikely.
The side is locked down now. The players know what they are doing and it’s a case of getting settled, and getting some wins.
Well, you have LBU this week.
LBU has struggled as much as the Bombers have.
A win here would be great for the team’s confidence.
And may be the best shot you’ve had in a while.
As for LBU, it goes into the game as favourite.
Both sides are reeling from 40-plus point losses in the last round and will see tomorrow’s match as a great opportunity to take points and progress up the ladder.
The Cats, in ninth, have celebrated victory once this year, as have LG, in seventh. But LG has also drawn a match against Elmore, seeing them higher on the ladder.
Cats coach Amanda Walker has had this fixture circled on the calendar for some time as a game her side should be winning.
Let’s see how that expectation stacks up with reality tomorrow.
■ PICOLA UNITED has had a mixed bag of results as of late, but that could all change with the game against Yarroweyah tomorrow in the Picola and District Netball League.
Two small losses and a big win in the last three have seen United slide down the ladder to seventh. But as the Blues arrive in Yarroweyah tomorrow they will be filled with confidence.
The Hoppers have had a torrid time in the PDNL this year, winning one of eight games, and languishing in 12th.
The Blues could well overtake sixth-placed Katunga with a win tomorrow, and send the Hoppers further down a slippery slope towards the wooden spoon.
■ MATHOURA has a golden opportunity to sneak into the top eight — if it can win tomorrow against Katunga.
Sixth-placed Katunga Swans have had an indifferent year so far with four wins and as many losses.
They are coming off the back of the bye and two losses, one close and one not so much.
The Timbercutters meanwhile are just outside the playoff spots in ninth, and have come off a win and two close losses, putting them in a reasonably good stead for the match.
If Mathoura take the win they could rise as high as sixth on the PDNL ladder, a huge coup for the battling club.