YARRAWONGA will need to match Wodonga’s “incredible” defensive intensity if its to book a spot in the grand final, according to Pigeons coach Kaitlyn Cummins.
The Ovens and Murray netball powerhouse is shooting for its eighth consecutive grand final appearance, but will face a team it hasn’t beaten this year.
Wodonga was also without stars Jane Cook and Liona Edwards when it won by six goals in their second round encounter, with both expected to play at the John Foord Oval on Saturday.
Cummins watched the Bulldogs in their six-goal victory over the defending premiers Lavington last week.
“It was tough and there really was nothing in that game,” she said.
“Wodonga just applies incredible one-on-one pressure all the way down the court and they strangled Lavington out of the game for a time.
“But then Lavington turned the tables and started to apply the same sort of pressure.
“We will have to find a way to match that.”
Cummins believes Yarrawonga has learned its lesson from the round 14 loss.
“That game showed we needed to be more flexible in our set-up, be able to adjust when the going gets tough or simply when the game isn’t going to plan,” she said.
“It’s been a focus for us and I think we go into this game much better prepared.
“But at the same time Wod- onga is going to have a very different line-up — Cook and Edwards look like they will play and neither was there when they beat us last time.”
The Pigeons had 11 more shots than Wodonga in that loss, with their shooting percentages well down by their lofty standards.
“What was obvious last Saturday is Wodonga applies enormous pressure all over the court and that is the only thing I can attribute that poor shooting performance too,” Cummins said.
“They play an amazing one on one and it is physically exhausting.”
Yarrawonga’s B grade team could make it a grand final double if it can beat North Albury in their second semi-final on Saturday.
“We’re fortunate to have great depth at the club and hopefully both of us can win through,” Cummins said.
“The standard of netball this year and the closeness of the results suggest anyone of the last four in A grade can win, so whoever gets the week’s rest will be in a much better position than their grand final opponent.”