Defensive pressure will be key for the Northern Hawks to combat a hungry Cavaliers outfit on Friday night in the last cross-town derby of the State Netball League season.
With only four rounds left, the Hawks are eyeing the finals but remain wary of the Cavaliers’ fierce competitiveness that saw both teams pushed to the wire in their last meeting in April.
The Hawks will take to the battle without starting goal attack Danni Pickett, a worry for the team after Pickett’s accuracy has benefited the Hawks throughout the season.
In a “major setback” for the Hawks, Pickett injured her Achilles tendon in training last week and is expected to be replaced by Tasmanian Magpies goalie Zoe Claridge.
Head coach Ruth Touhy said the Hawks were looking forward to a competitive game against the Cavaliers.
“We are coming off some of our best games this season and need to continue showing our current form with a strong consistent game and minimise errors on transition,” she said.
“Full court defensive pressure will be critical to stop their drive through the middle.”
At their last clash in April, the Hawks defeated the Cavaliers 58-52 in an intense match that pushed both teams.
The Cavaliers will enter the battle on Friday fresh from a bye, while the Hawks are riding high from their comfortable win over the Karana Flames in their fundraising round last week.
The Cavaliers have dealt with a number of damaging injuries and a lack of consistency through the season, but coach Dannie Carstens said they will be looking to keep pressure high and resist opposition influence in their next four games.
“Despite some disappointing results this season, we have had some very competitive matches, many where we should have come away with the wins,” she said.
“Our last game against Cripps two weeks ago, we actually had several more scoring opportunities, we have to learn to convert when it matters.”
Captain Kate Gibson will lead the attacking pressure against the Hawks while defence will be the responsibility of Racheal Smith against Ash Mawer.
“Racheal combining with Issy Maskell, Tessa Coote and Jacky Bennett in the defensive end has been an impressive outfit for us all season,” Carstens said.
“We certainly need all of them to work relentlessly to stop the ball before their feeders get a chance to deliver it.”
- WHAT: Cavaliers v Hawks
- WHEN: 6.30pm under-19s, 8.05pm opens
- WHERE: Silverdome.
Full court defensive pressure will be critical to stop their drive through the middle.