BY NATHAN DOLE
TOP five aspirations of North Bendigo’s and Heathcote’s A-grade netball teams hinge greatly on the result of this Saturday’s clash in round eight of the Bendigo Bank Heathcote DFNL season.
Fifth on the ladder on a 3-3 record, North Bendigo has home-court advantage at Hibo Hotel Oval in Atkins Street for this contest.
Heathcote is 2-4 and in sixth place in the premiership race.
The Shellie Davies-coached North Bendigo is on the rebound from a 92-33 loss at White Hills last round.
Points against the Saints are a must as North Bendigo in the lead-up to the King’s Birthday holiday weekend general bye on June 10 as the team travels to Elmore on June 17.
An away victory will lift the Brooke Bolton and Kelsey Hayes-coached Heathcote into the top five.
Despite the narrow loss on Mount Pleasant’s court at Toolleen in round six, Heathcote took plenty of positives from the game.
A loss this Saturday though will put the Saints two wins adrift of North Bendigo and facing an uphill battle to qualify for finals action in August and September.
The Saints put together one of their best four-quarter performances last round to score a 74-31 win against Lockington Bamawm United.
After the bye Heathcote will be back on its court at Barrack Reserve to play Huntly.
Refreshed by the bye, Colbinabbin returns to M.J. Morgan Oval to take on Leitchville Gunbower.
The Jen McIntyre-coached Colbinabbin has played well to be third on the ladder with a 5-1 record.
The Grasshoppers are up against an opponent which broke its winless run last Saturday.
Leitchville Gunbower answered all challenges from Huntly to record a 38-32 victory on the Leitchville court.
The challenge for the Gemma Angove-coached Bombers is to raise the attacking flair and defensive intensity again to be a chance of toppling Colbinabbin.
Huntly faces a huge test at home at Strauch Reserve against White Hills.
The Kym Bell-coached Hawks were incredibly disappointed not to have claimed their second win of the season in last Saturday’s clash with Leitchville Gunbower.
In seventh place on a 1-5 record, Huntly meets a White Hills line-up which has dominated recent matches.
Since being beaten by Elmore in the rematch of the 2022 grand finalists on Elmore’s court in round four, White Hills has outplayed Mount Pleasant, Lockington Bamawm United and North Bendigo.
The Lauren Bowles-coached Demons have an attack and mid-court in hot form.
White Hills will want to play well in the lead-up to their home game at Winslow Constructors Oval in Scott Street on June 17 against Colbinabbin.
Lockington Bamawm United is back at home at Lockington to take on Elmore.
Strong defence will be a key for the Jessie Hardess-coached LBU against the unbeaten ladder-leader.
There’s been no sign of premiership hangover for the Allira Holmes and Gabe Richards-coached Elmore which won its latest hit-out against Mount Pleasant by 24 goals.
Mount Pleasant has the bye.
Standings in the Heathcote District FNL’s A-grade netball competition:
Elmore 161 per cent, 24 points; White Hills 221, 20; Colbinabbin 157, 20; Mount Pleasant 88, 16; North Bendigo 77, 12; Heathcote 94, 8; Huntly 79, 4; Lockington Bamawm United 57, 4; Leitchville Gunbower 53, 4.