Time to get ready for those finals

By Fraser Walker-Pearce

Echuca United once again proved it has enough firepower to contend with the best of the best after an eight-goal win over Barooga.

The Eagles once more showed they are the masters of closing out the tight games as the score line remained in doubt for the majority of the match, until United ran away with it in the last.

Coach Rohan Starkey is leading a formidable side now feared in the Murray Netball League.

His side’s mix of youth, talent and hard work is a winning combination — just look at the table.

The Eagles have sat on the seventh rung of the MNL for a while now (because of points percentage) with a record of 7-4, making the gap between themselves and eighth-placed Barooga an almost unassailable 12 points.

They are a near certainty for finals with just eight games remaining

United proved the Finley loss was just a speed bump on the way to finals with this win — but all is not signed and sealed just yet.

The blue and gold head to fierce local rivals Moama Magpies on the weekend in the second and final Three Jacks Trophy game.

Moama was the Eagles’ biggest defeat this year, losing by 21 goals in the opening round, on their own courts. Starkey said it was important to get back to winning ways, and Moama is going to be a monumental task.

‘‘It was an extremely physical match where we managed to stay composed and were able to edge out a scrappy Barooga team,’’ Starkey said.

‘‘Our defenders worked hard all day to get crucial turnover ball and our transition through to attack was back to where it was before last week’s loss.

‘‘Better players for us were Tanner Edwards, Amy Sherlock and Remy Day. But it really was a great team effort across the board.

‘‘And certainly an important win ahead of this week’s tough challenge that is Moama,’’ he said.

United is defensively the fourth-best in the league, conceding 385 goals over the 11 rounds so far — an average of 35 a game.

The side will have to be defensively watertight as Moama has the best attacking statistics of the competition — averaging 57 goals, while conceding 28 a game.

This weekend could be season defining for both clubs, and a ripper of a game awaits.