LADY BANDITS: Defend, or sit out the match

Lady Bandits' Lauren Angel in action against the Blues last week. Picture: PETER MERKESTEYN
Lady Bandits' Lauren Angel in action against the Blues last week. Picture: PETER MERKESTEYN

FOR the Albury-Wodonga Lady Bandits, the message is simple.

Play defence as if your life depends on it, or find yourself riding the bench.

Having watched his players last weekend concede 100-plus points for the second time in a month, coach James Ballinger has seen more than enough.

And he says it’s time his players were held accountable for their actions, or lack thereof.

“We’ve already talked about how 101 points is simply too many,” Ballinger said.

“Kilsyth has the second-best defence in the league, giving up just 65 points per game.

“So we spent two hours just on our defence at training on Tuesday night and things got chippy, but they needed to.

“We simply have to be better defensively.

“The players know, if they can’t or aren’t willing to play defence, then we’ll find someone who can.

“There’s plenty of willing bodies, so if you’re not willing, then you’ll be taking a seat.”

Like their male counterparts, Albury-Wodonga travels to Ballarat and Kilsyth this weekend and for the Lady Bandits, the task is potentially tougher.

The Rush have won three of their first four SEABL matches, while the Lady Snakes have been the class of the South Conference, racing to an early 6-1 record.

But in a welcome boost for the Border club, centre Lauren Angel has been cleared to play after injuring her ankle late in last week’s heavy defeat to Frankston.

“Huge test, huge weekend, we’re playing probably the form team of the competition in Kilsyth,” Ballinger said.

“Ballarat has only lost one game too, so this really is a massive challenge for the group.

“This is all about us, our work ethic and how we can improve.

“This is purely about effort and getting back to playing the way we want to play.

“We’ve shown that we can do that; now we need to do that for extended periods.”