By Grant Richardson
Game of The Week – Hobart v Launceston
Friday 3rd July- 6:00pm @ Hobart Netball & Sports Centre
Tasmania will be rocking on Friday night when the Hobart Lady Chargers put their six game winning streak on the line against the Launceston Tornadoes, the most in-form team in the league.
Despite not playing in Round 11, Hobart maintained their lead atop the South Conference. When they played Launceston in Round 5, they shot 43% from the field but gave up ten more free throws and nine more rebounds in a 66-72 loss.
Amy Kame (28 points) led all scorers in the clash while Kathleen Scheer collected 19 points, six rebounds and four blocks. Their battle with Mikaela Ruef in the front court could decide the outcome, after Ruef recorded 13 points, 18 boards (eight offensive) and four assists to compliment Emilee Harmon’s 26 points on 9-18 shooting in their first meeting.
Suffering a knee injury, Harmon will not be present for this weekend’s match-up but her loss was covered well when the Tornadoes defeated Dandenong last round. Trailing at half-time, a strong final term handed Launceston their ninth straight victory, winning 77-69. Ruef was dominant once again with 32 points, 15 rebounds, six steals and two blocks while Lauren Mansfield (17 points) and Ally Wilson (16) both reached double-figures.
With the Under-16 Australian Junior Championships beginning this weekend in Ulverstone, Tasmanians will have their hands full with basketball entertainment. Hobart has the forward stocks to compete with Launceston under the rim but at the point guard position, Mansfield’s form is a danger for the home side.
A win would bring the Tornadoes even closer to top spot while both sides will be mindful of the margin should their ladder position come down to head-to-head results at the end of the year.
Prediction: Launceston by 4
Friday 3rd July -
Albury-Wodonga v Dandenong
In this East Conference clash, the top placed side will be visiting the bottom ranked team although both suffered a loss last round. For the Lady Bandits, it was their seventh straight defeat and they will be without Montana Farrah-Seaton who is away on Gems commitments while Dandenong will also be vulnerable with Aimie Clydesdale out who is competing in the World University Games.
Saturday 4th July –
Sandringham v Bendigo
Sandringham will be buoyed by the opportunity to play Bendigo again as their sole victory for the year came against the Lady Braves in Round 4. Brittany Smart and Caitlin Rowe had massive double-doubles in that clash, combining for 38 points and 31 rebounds but Smart has missed the last two games. After splitting Round 11, Bendigo must keep winning to hold onto fourth spot in the South Conference and keep Frankston at bay.
Canberra v Albury-Wodonga
Travel time could hurt Albury-Wodonga, playing their second game in as many days while Canberra will have had a week’s break after two big losses last round. Their leading scorer, Steph Talbot will again be absent on World Uni Games obligations which will see the onus on Julie Forster grow as she battles under the rim with the Lady Bandits’ import duo of Kristina Baltic and Alison Bouman.
Frankston v Nunawading
Playing against the side she represented for the past two years, Nicole Romeo will be looking for a big game as Nunawading attempt to arrest their three-game losing skid. Romeo should find the going a little easier as Maddie Garrick will be absent for Frankston but the Lady Blues has won three of their past five games and a 10-point win just a fortnight ago over the Spectres will give them confidence. Kelly Bowen dominated at both ends in that clash, recording 18 points and 14 boards (five offensive).
Ballarat v Hobart
The Rush look to have kept their season alive with a win over Brisbane in an East Conference showdown last weekend, putting themselves four games back of a playoff position. They have won two of their last three but must keep Hobart off the glass as the Lady Chargers won the offensive rebound count 22-11 in their 11-point Round 8 victory.
Sunday 5th July –
Kilsyth v Sandringham
A tough round for Sandringham sees them play two current South Conference finalists back-to-back. Kilsyth cruised to an 18-point win last time these sides met in Round 2 but their form has dropped off since then, winning just two of their last four games. Turnovers were an issue for the Sabres in that clash, recording 13 more than their opponents while the size of Cassie Sant (19 points, 11 rebounds) is also a concern.
Geelong v Launceston
With four straight wins, Geelong is threatening to take top spot in the East and is unbeaten at home this year. A two week break will have them rested although Launceston has been afforded a day’s break in between their Round 12 matches. With 22 points and 14 boards, Sara Blicavs was the match-winner when these sides met in Round 4 but as she is busy with World Uni Games commitments, the Tornadoes’ front court advantage could be enough to get them over the line.