Shepparton’s Kim Commane plays for Melbourne Vixens

By Lauren Bordin

Fresh off strutting her stuff on Hisense Arena, Kim Commane will be back on deck at Deakin Reserve tomorrow.

Called up to replace injured Melbourne Vixens goal keeper Mwai Kumwenda, Commane shot 31 goals from 33 attempts in front of 7000 fans on Sunday.

From going up against England and Sunshine Coast Lightning goal keeper Geva Mentor, that task of defending Commane falls to Shepparton United rising star Olivia Kirby, 16.

Demons captain Kirsty Hommes saw the positives of watching tomorrow’s opposition perform in the Super Netball league.

‘‘We don’t get to look at many videos of games, but it’s convenient that we saw Kim playing four quarters for the Vixens and had a bit of a look for an insight on how to shut her down,’’ Hommes said.

‘‘We’ve got to learn to keep her out and stop the ball going into the circle as much as possible, she’s pretty dynamic and we don’t have the height or size to match her.

‘‘With Liv we’ve done a lot of work on getting her to move her body, it’s really hard to ask a 16-year-old to come up against a VNL player, so we’re doing a lot of work on shutting down the ball earlier and trying to stop their stride and stop the easy ball in.’’

Shepparton coach Tracey Brereton said it was exciting to watch Commane on the big stage again.

‘‘She’s such a quality player, it’s a shame she didn’t hang on to the contract when she lost it, but that’s professional sport,’’ Brereton said.

‘‘It’s inspirational for the club to see her go from Bears to VNL, she’s still playing VNL and so is Steph Gorrie, so it’s very inspirational.’’

Shepparton has benefited from a wide range of players contributing to its undefeated season, with others standing up when Commane, Gorrie, Jacinta Todd and Hannah Crawley have all missed at various times due to VNL commitments or injury.

Brereton said that meant the side always did its due preparation before each match, despite averaging wins by 19 goals.

‘‘Every game we go into we worry about, we talk through it thoroughly and talk about every team’s strengths and weaknesses because every game is not a foregone conclusion, especially against Shepparton United,’’ Brereton said.

But it is not one tactical advantage the Demons possess that Brereton will be wary of, but rather their ability to persist.

‘‘The thing with Shepparton United is that they never go away, they’re a bit like the Shepparton Swans that they hold a consistency and you can never sort of write them off,’’ she said.

‘‘I’m not sure what a big enough margin is to be able to relax against them.’’

Shepparton’s Morgan Gibson and Ash Cann will provide a sturdy base in defence to counteract United’s agile goaler Jessie Barnes-Hill as the Bears try and build a buffer they can hang on to.