BY NATHAN DOLE
MARYBOROUGH faces one of the biggest challenges in the Bendigo Bank Bendigo FNL’s A-grade netball competition this Saturday.
The Jordan Macilwain-coached Maryborough is back on its court at Princes Park to take on Kangaroo Flat.
After a 17-goal win at Eaglehawk’s Canterbury Park in round two, Maryborough is up against last season’s runner-up.
The Jayden Cowling-coached Kangaroos were beaten by Sandhurst in the grand final rematch in the opening round, but bounced back for a 15-goal victory against South Bendigo.
It’s another huge test for the Magpies who were at home against Castlemaine in round one.
The Kangaroos’ defensive workrate, slick passing and attacking options will be tough for the Magpies to match or contain.
Being up against one of the league’s best of the past two-and-a-bit seasons will be a massive test for a young Maryborough line-up.
Castlemaine is at home again at Camp Reserve to take on Strathfieldsaye.
The Fiona Fowler and Gary Cooke-coached Magpies will be keen to strike back from a 35-43 loss on their court at Camp Reserve to Gisborne.
Magpies’ goalers Jane O’Donohue and Emma Winfield are in fine form.
The Steph Freemantle-coached Strathfieldsaye almost hit the 80-goal mark in last Saturday’s match with Golden Square.
Storm dominated all thirds of the court for most of the match to claim a 78-29 win on its court at Triple M Park in Tannery Lane.
An in-form Gisborne hosts Eaglehawk at Gardiner Reserve.
Wins against Strathfieldsaye and Castlemaine have put the Tarryn Rymer-coached Gisborne on top of the ladder.
Defensive star Zoe Davies has played a crucial role in Gisborne’s run, along with Claudia Mawson and Tori Skrijel.
A tough start for the Kylie Piercy-coached Eaglehawk which has played South Bendigo and Maryborough does not become any easier.
Sandhurst and Golden Square meet at Queen Elizabeth Oval for the Ron Best Memorial Shield day.
The Tamara Gilchrist-coached Sandhurst has played impressive netball in the opening two rounds as it pursues a fifth consecutive premiership.
Golden Square coach Benita Swatton will stress the importance of defensive pressure to what is a young and developing team.
South Bendigo will be aiming to make it two-from-two starts at its new home at Harry Trott Oval in Kennington when it takes on Kyneton.
The Janelle Hobbs-coached Bloods are on the rebound from a loss on Kangaroo Flat’s court at Dower Park.
Kyneton also has a one-one record.
The Dianne Guest-Oakley won at Golden Square in round one, but could not stop Sandhurst’s charge to victory at Tigerland.
Standings in the Bendigo FNL A-grade netball competition:
Gisborne 155 per cent, 8 points; Sandhurst 126, 8; South Bendigo 133, 4; Strathfieldsaye 130, 4; Kyneton 126, 4; Maryborough 107, 4; Kangaroo Flat 106, 4; Castlemaine 102, 4; Eaglehawk 56, 0; Golden Square 39, 0.