Pigeons facing tough run home

Pigeon Abbey Jones is still at school but she is giving some of the best defenders a lesson. Picture: PETER MERKESTEYN

Pigeon Abbey Jones is still at school but she is giving some of the best defenders a lesson. Picture: PETER MERKESTEYN

IT’S a make or break fortnight for Yarrawonga.

The Pigeons, grand finalists for the past decade, face two crunch games ahead of the playoffs when they meet North Albury this weekend and back up for the grand final replay against Lavington seven days later.

Two wins will earn them a rest in the first week of finals, two losses and they’ll be fighting for survival.

Coach Kaitlyn Cummins said it was just the nature of the competition this year.

“You only have to be slightly off and you are going to be beaten this year, it is just wide open,” she said.

“Look at the results — we beat Corowa-Rutherglen by 25 goals and then lost to Wodonga but the two play out their second draw of the year.

“We know that North Albury will bring their A-game on Saturday — they need to win as well.

“But we’re happy to have a tough run into the finals, it will set us up well.”

In the first round Yarrawonga had just a goal to spare over North Albury in a seesawing contest.

Last weekend, the Pigeons finished with an 18-goal margin over Wangaratta Rovers, the Hoppers avenging a first-round defeat in defeating Wangaratta by 21 goals.

Cummins said the game against the Rovers allowed her to tweak a few combinations.

“The loss to the Bulldogs showed that we needed to be more flexible and have options if the initial set-up isn’t working,” she said.

“At the weekend Annalise Grinter was away so that also allowed us to move a few players into different roles.

“Hannah Symes was probably our best and showed her versatility by playing in defence and then going to the other end of the court and shooting.”

Cummins said the Pigeons continued to struggle to put four quarters of their best netball together.

“The club has struggled for depth all year and we were stretched when we played North Albury in the first round,” she said.

“But the real issue is playing well for the whole game — we are still putting two good quarters together.”

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