Northern Hawks, Cavaliers meet in table-topping derby

Armed combat: Cavaliers' goal attack Kate Gibson looks to shoot past the defence of Northern Hawks' Gemma Poke.
Armed combat: Cavaliers' goal attack Kate Gibson looks to shoot past the defence of Northern Hawks' Gemma Poke.

In the same week as the North’s two TSL sides meet in a one-versus-two clash, the North’s two State League netball teams will do the same.

Last year’s runners-up Northern Hawks have emerged as title favourites after six rounds, sitting two games clear of the pack as the only unbeaten side. 

Danni Carstens’ Cavaliers sit atop a cluster of sides on four wins and have been charged with ending the Hawks’ perfect record in Friday’s evening encounter at the Silverdome. 

“We’ve been preparing for Hawks being the top of the table side at the moment so all our preparation is always around building up to playing the pinnacle of the competition and they’ve cemented themselves as that over the past couple of weeks,” Carstens said. 

”It’s great to see Northern teams up in one and two but it’s still so early on in the season and we’ve got a lot of work to sustain being up in that top four.

“For us this week it’s really around nailing our transition defence and transition attack as well.”

UNAVAILABLE: Cavaliers' Shelby Miller.

UNAVAILABLE: Cavaliers' Shelby Miller.

Fresh in Carstens’ mind is the stinging one-point defeat Hawks inflicted last time the teams met, a result that ended Cavaliers’ finals hopes.

“We were quite underdone in terms of injuries.

“They were second on the table and we were up by 11 or 12 goals at three-quarter time and lost by a goal so we’re certainly hungry to redeem ourselves after that performance from last year and really cement what we’ve been doing the last couple of weeks.”

Cavaliers are likely to be without centre Shelby Miller, who is expected to travel with the Tasmanian Magpies, which will open the door for under-19s pair Shannae Heazlewood and Lace McHugh to get valuable opens court time.

Ruth Tuohy is expected to take an unchanged Hawks lineup into the match and has tasked her troops with making better decisions after a scratchy win last round.

“Against Burnie we made some unusual errors,” she said.

“So we’re really looking forward to getting back to our game plan this week, getting some consistency and the key is going to be really shutting down the speed and the focus that the Cavaliers have through their centre court.”

Players will also be asked to put friendships behind them for four quarters.

Tuohy said the closeness between the two sides often produced tight matches. 

“It’s always an interesting game.

“The girls know each other a lot off the court and it’s interesting when we play them… I don’t know whether that works to an advantage or a disadvantage for us but it’s always guaranteed to be a hard-fought game because the girls do know each other.

“But whatever happens on the court they all remain friends off.”

The game starts at 8.05pm.