Sport

School in for Bears

By Aydin Payne

Under the bright lights of Deakin Reserve’s courts is a contest shaping up to be the match of the round, as two of the three undefeated Goulburn Valley League sides in the competition look to try and continue their perfect starts to the season.
Shepparton takes on Shepparton United in a top of the table clash tonight and the prize on offer to the victors will bag a crucial four points in a bid to extend their lead on the rest of the competition.
Shepparton knocked off fellow challengers Kyabram last weekend by four goals, a result many believed could have gone the other way, due to the quality of the Kyabram outfit.
Bears coach Tracey Brereton knew her side would face another tough contest continues against United, this evening but believed that facing difficult opposition to start the season would help them for the year to come in the future.
‘‘I think there are some positives you can take away from playing good opposition early on in the year, you can gain some valuable experience,’’ Brereton said.
‘‘United are traditionally a very fit side, so I expect them to run the ball quickly through the court.
‘‘The intensity will be up from the get-go and we’ll need to make sure that we are switched on and ready.
‘‘I’ve been impressed with our group as a whole, no-one is playing for themselves and there’s a great team unity among the group.
‘‘But there’s still improvement needed and a couple of things we need to address.’’
With United’s undefeated start to the season, last year’s preliminary finalist is set to compete for the top three again this year, and with the introduction of Numurkah gun Tamara Skinner in goals, the odds firm even more.
The Dees enjoyed a dominant 29-goal win against Tatura last weekend, round with Laura Cole and Liv Kirby both demonstrating their sublime skills on the court prominent.
‘‘It’s been a fantastic start to the season and it’s exciting knowing that we are still growing as a side, we’re completely different to last year,’’ United coach Tania Orchard said.
‘‘We know we are coming up against a quality side, but we need to keep the focus on our own structure and game plan.
‘‘I’ll try my best to get the match-ups right and we’ll look to try and move the ball as quickly as possible.
‘‘Although it’s only week three, there’s still a long way to go in the season, hopefully we know where we sit after this weekend.’’
The game will begin at 6.45pm in what is set to be an Easter Friday special for netball fans.