The Samsung Queensland State Netball League’s country division lands in Townsville tomorrow for an epic three rounds of fixtures that will shape the Division 2 finals picture.
Marlin Coast Marlins and Magnetic North Steelcats have been given the toughest task of the division’s five sides, handed three tricky fixtures to navigate without a bye.
The competition’s newest side Marlin Coast will look to avenge first round losses against Magnetic North Steelcats and Whitsunday Sharks on day one, before backing up against struggling Wide Bay Thundercats on day three.
Marlins coach Winnie Whately said her side were confident in their ability to navigate the tough fixture list and take all six points.
“We’ve known about the three games for quite some time and have been planning towards this weekend. We’ve worked hard in the gym and on court to get fitness to its peak,” Whately said.
“The outcome in our matches against the Steelcats and Sharks weren’t what we wanted, but the performances were certainly there. With the Steelcats, we had a 12-goal lead but a lack of experience led to us giving the game away.
“With the Sharks we led the whole game until the final five minutes. Wins against these sides are something within our reach. We know we have what it takes to match them and get a different result this time around.”
Former West Australian Netball League star and Brisbane North Cougar Heidi Wilson will join the Marlins side this week after relocating to Cairns.
“To have someone of her experience come in really bolsters confidence,” Whately said.
“We are fully focused on top two. It’s all that matters. This weekend is important for us to shape the rest of the season.”
Magnetic North Steelcats head into this weekend’s fixtures at the summit of the country ladder with four wins from four.
The biggest of those scalps was a nine-point win over reigning country champions Capricorn Claws to open the campaign, who will be champing at the bit for redemption in the rematch on Saturday night.
Steelcats coach Sue Warmington said complacency wouldn’t be an issue for her side as they aimed to back up their good start to the season.
“We know we have a target on our backs now. Every team is tough and we will have to be at our absolute best to beat them,” Warmington said.
“We had a big pre-season, have training partners that push us all the way on court and have great continuity in our group with seven returning to the club from last year. We wanted to be bigger, better, faster and stronger.
“We know it’s going to be physically and mentally challenging backing up, but the girls have trained hard and we’re raring to go.
“The group are very well aware of what it takes to make it through to the finals and they know our job is certainly not over – it’s just beginning. They’ve set themselves they’re own little challenges. If we stick to our processes and game plan we know we’ll be up there. We want remain on top of the ladder after the weekend.”
Round 5, 8 April 2017, Ryan Catholic College, Townsville
12pm: Steelcats v Marlins
2pm: Claws v Thundercats
Round 6, 8 April 2017, Ryan Catholic College, Townsville
5pm: Marlins v Sharks
7pm: Steelcats v Claws
Round 7, 9 April 2017, Ryan Catholic College, Townsville
9am: Marlins v Thundercats
11am: Steelcats v Sharks