GVL netball | United set to focus on game plan

By Aydin Payne

Coming off the highs of last weekend's captivating win in its semi-final match Shepparton United hits the Deakin Reserve court for a preliminary final epic against Echuca.

The Demons clinched a memorable extra time victory against arch-rival Shepparton, which has them now lining up for a spot in the Goulburn Valley League A-grade grand final.

Despite the adrenaline-fuelled win last weekend, United coach Tania Orchard said her side was sticking to what it does best.

"We just need to stick to our game plan," Orchard said.

"We'll come in with guns blazing.

"The last time we played Echuca we had a great start.

"Hopefully we can convert our chances and get an early lead."

Even though Orchard's side was able to come out and score 18 goals in the first term in round 18, the Demons eventually lost that match 58-50 — their second loss of the season.

The loss three weeks ago was United's second of the home and away season, with both defeats coming by the hand of the Murray Bombers.

Asked if the most recent loss played on the minds of her players, Orchard said no and that they try to focus on the game at hand.

"Not really, we address each week when they come around," she said.

"And just make sure that we are on top of our game."

United's opposition will be out to rebound from last week's narrow loss to Seymour, when it coughed up a four-goal lead late in the piece.

Echuca's attacking duo Casey Frame and Claudia Mawson were standouts in that loss and United's young defence is certain to have its hands full.

But Orchard was confident her defensive pair, Laura Cole and Liv Kirby would be able to tackle Echuca's talented goalers.

"I think it will be a big contest between our goal defence and their goal attack," Orchard said.

"If we can shut down Claudia it will be very important in the match.

"Laura will line-up on her and I'm certain she will do a fantastic job.

"She's had a breakout year, I'm very proud of her and my other two defensive players."

A positive for United is the potential return of star goaler Jessie Barnes, who was a late out last weekend due to illness.

Barnes has enjoyed a superb season for the Demons and complements the attacking end with experienced player Tamara Skinner.

But even if Barnes is ruled out, the Demons can call upon young shooter Georgia Walpole, who nailed the game-winning shot last weekend.

"Jess was back at training during the week and it's a matter of how she pulls up," Orchard said.

"But I'm confident she will play this weekend."

Key points

At a glance - Echuca v Shepparton United