A TOP OF the table clash in Wimmera Football Netball League's A Grade between Horsham and Southern Mallee Giants didn't disappoint as the competition got back underway on Saturday.
In pouring conditions at City Oval, the Giants travelled in to take on the reigning champions at their home court.
In a test against what is one of their toughest opponents in the competition, the Giants would have been eager to measure up against the Demons for the second time for the 2021 season.
Demons' Emma Buwalda didn't play the first time the two teams met and again looked like could cause problems for opposition defenders.
Scoring 10 on her own in the first to seven, Giants coach Mikayla George knew her team had their work cut out for them.
"It was a different style of netball to what we, and Horsham, are used to playing," she said.
"I was really proud with how the girls stood up and put into practice what the players have been working on at training and talking about during the two weeks of lockdown - it was a phenomenal effort."
During the second quarter, the Giants were able to shut the Demons' scoring down while playing an impressive attacking game themselves. A six-goal turn around on the scoreboard.
"Caitlyn Hickey played an absolutely outstanding game in goal keeper," George said.
"Rebound wise and defensive pressure - it was a tremendous effort."
The third quarter was all tied at seven-a-piece, the Demons still couldn't close in the three-goal margin the Giants were able to get in the second.
In the last, the Demons only managed to get one back on the margin. Final score, 33-31.
George said it was reassuring after all the lockdowns and travel restrictions they could go out there and match it with a team like the Demons who are a 'well-oiled' team.
"After weeks off, wet weather that we're not used to playing, really high-calibre level of umpires - it was nice to know both teams are there and right on the mark in terms of where we're at," she said.
"It's been an interrupted season and I know everyone is just trying to sustain momentum."
George said she was impressed with Trudi Cook in wing defence.
"I think it can be an underrated position and sometimes you can hide your seventh player in there," she said.
"If you have a really strong wing defence that can be what can win you a final or a premiership and Trudi really stood up today. You'd probably have to be a good netballer to appreciate what she did but she really disrupted Horsham's mid-court and flow.
"Our goalies took a lot of hard knocks from Jedda Heard and Marnie Lehmann so I think our goalies played a tremendous game in the wet - it's very hard to lead out of goals when it's wet."
In other games around the courts, Stawell was triumphant over Minyip Murtoa, 45-34.
Horsham Saints went down to Ararat, 43-56.
Warrack Ealges got the win over Dimboola, 51-42.
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