Sport

GVL netball | round 18 | United out to overturn early season loss

By Aydin Payne

A final round contest against a fellow premiership contender is the perfect tune-up for Goulburn Valley League netball premiership favourite Shepparton United.

With the Demons sitting on top of the Goulburn Valley League ladder - six points clear of second - coach Tania Orchard said her side could not wait to host third-placed Echuca tomorrow.

"Everyone is really excited for this game, we couldn't have had a better run leading in to finals," she said.

"Mooroopna and Rochester pushed us all the way in recent weeks and I've been really pleased with how the girls have been playing."

Last round the Demons proved too strong for Rochester, piling on 17-8 in the final term to record a 13-goal win.

And the last time United went head-to-head against Echuca, the Murray Bombers clinched a tense one-goal victory at Princess Park in round seven.

United's star attacker Jessie Barnes will receive close attention from Echuca's Tamara Nicholls, while Nicholls' shooting teammate Casey Frame will face stiff opposition from Demon young gun Olivia Kirby.

United sharpshooter Sarah Bohn went down with a knee injury last time the two sides met, which has thrown experienced utility Tamara Skinner into goals with Barnes.

But it was Echuca's rollicking quick start to that round seven encounter that proved the winning stroke, as the reigning premier outscored the Dees 16-11 in the opening term.

Orchard said she expected another similar start from Gina Pearson's side.

"I'm expecting them to be hard and fast out of the gates," she said.

"We cannot let them get a fast start again.

"We either have to be in front or still with them at the first break."

Since United's round nine draw with Seymour, the Dees have won eight straight, with the round seven loss to Echuca the only other hiccup this season.  

"We've just been focusing on our game plan and controlling what we can," Orchard said.

"With how tight the season is, especially the top six, it was really important that we clinched a top two spot.

"I'm super proud of the effort this season, to only lose to Echuca and draw with Seymour is great."