Van Keulen up to the challenge

The Cavaliers and Cripps Warath in battle earlier this year.

The Cavaliers and Cripps Warath in battle earlier this year.

CAVALIERS attacking weapon Cath Van Keulen knows she has a challenge in front of her against the defensive might of Cripps Waratah in tonight's State Netball League preliminary final, and she can't wait.

The reigning premiers will need to knock off their Southern rivals at Hobart's Aurora Sports Stadium if they are to defend their title, but they are coming up against a team that holds a 2-1 record over them this season in what is a rematch of last year's grand final.

"The most important thing for us is to work in our little teams to get the ball into the circle and it is really important that our work rate is of a really high standard, so we have the best opportunity to score," she said yesterday.

"They are a very tight defensive unit, so it is important that we move the ball quickly and work together as a team, so it will come down to which team can work the best as a team together in what will be a tough, physical game."

At the other end of the court, defender and former coach Dannie Carstens is likely to have an easier time of it, with Cripps's strength being its defence and midcourt.

"We will just need to dominate and capitalise on everything that comes our way there and go for everything," Carstens said.

"Sophia Saunders [the former Cav who is battling an ankle injury] is one we have to watch there because she really promotes the drive on to the circle and creates a lot of opportunities to their goalies, so is a huge playmaker for them."

Both Van Keulen and Carstens did not believe Cripps's 2014 record against them would not be a factor, with Carstens saying they had not seen the best of the Cavs in their three previous encounters.

"I don't mind going in as a bit of an underdog, as they haven't experienced us at full capacity yet, and we've learnt a lot over the past two weeks [including the one- goal loss to Arrows in last week's major semi]."

Tonight's winner will face Arrows in Hobart next Saturday.

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