Quelling a player like former Silver Fern Jenny-May Coffin will be foremost in the minds of the Western netballers at Hawera tomorrow morning.
Coffin, the Mystics coach in this year's ANZ Championship, will be one of the threats in the North team who, like Western, are unbeaten after three rounds of the national competition.
Her day job these days is to read the sports news on television, but in combination with former franchise player Bridgette Tapene, they pose a threat on court. Coffin will be at centre or wing attack and Tapene will be at goal attack.
North, a mix of Northland and North Harbour players, also have Mystics and New Zealand under-21 goal keep Jessica Mould. Coach Helen Wilson coaches the New Zealand Secondary Schools team.
Netball North encompasses nine centres – Mangonui, Bay of Islands, Northern Wairoa, Kerikeri, Rodney, Whangarei, Kaipara, Hibiscus Coast and North Harbour.
Their team have won all of their games but by lesser margins than Western. Western have scored 216 points, North 183 and, Waikato, who are still a threat, 191.
Western goal shoot Chantelle Ngaia is shooting at more than 90 per cent and goal attack Amber Bellringer in the high 80s.
As Western coach Annette Pearce alluded, that matters not a jot if Western don't win tomorrow.
"It's on the day. We've just got to get enough ball to our shooters."
It is important Western win to give them the first-division promotion playoff against the sixth and bottom division-one side at Porirua next week.
Western have one drawback most others don't and that is having to assemble their players from a wide area.
Take Pearce. She lives on a farm at Waitotara and works as the Nga Tawa School director of sport and netball coach at Marton.
Half of the Western players must troop to Whanganui for the one practice a week, the other half come from Manawatu and Katarina Cooper drives from Otaki.
"We don't have the luxury of training twice a week," Pearce said. "It is just too much for our girls who also have work commitments.
"They are good; they will go and do their individual work."
Mid-courter Laurent Burgess has a recurring back injury. She didn't practise on Tuesday and might not play.
"That is the beauty of this team; we are lucky we have cover," Pearce said. "We have got so much talent sitting there."
Manawatu's Sheridan Bignall is likely to start at centre with Alanah Cassidy as back-up.
No-one is quite sure why the game is being played at the TSB Hub at Hawera for the first time with North having to bus there from New Plymouth Airport. However, the local community is expected to get behind the game.
Western: Jodi Beaumont (Manawatu), Amber Bellringer (Manawatu-Taranaki), Sheridan Bignall (Manawatu), Erika Burgess (Taranaki), Lauren Burgess (Taranaki), Samantha Burkhart (Taranaki), Alanah Cassidy (Taranaki), Whitney Cassidy (Manawatu), Katarina Cooper (Manawatu), Chantelle Ngaia (Taranaki), Miriama Selby-Rickit (Manawatu).
Results: Bt Waikato 60-59, bt Counties-Manukau 65-29, bt Eastern 91-18.
North: 1 Angela Tangimetua, 2 Brigette Tapene, 3 Carli Botes, 4 Charmaine Smith, 5 Emma Iversen, 6 Jenny-May Coffin, 7 Jessica Moulds (captain), 8 Nirah Nathan, 9 Ritua Aliiva'a, 10 Rosalie Allison, 11 Sally Greenwood, 12 Samon Nathan. Coaches: Helen Wilson, Marcia Hardcastle.
Results: Bt Eastern 68-28, bt Tasman 59-35, bt Counties-Manukau 56-41.
1st grade div 1: Canterbury 12, Wellington 12, Otago 5, Bay of Plenty 4, Southland 4, Auckland-Waitakere 0.
1st grade div 2: Western 12, North 12, Waikato 9, Counties-Manukau 4, Eastern 0, Tasman 0.
- Manawatu Standard