Sides have a sixth sense

June 19, 2017

Nathalia shooter Georgia Walpole reaches above Hayley Fry (Mulwala) to bring the ball down.

Central figure: Mulwala centre Maddison Gissing finds a teammate during her side's win over Nathalia.

A distinct gap has opened up at the top of the Murray Netball League ladder, but the race for sixth place has been blown wide open.

Moama easily dealt with yet another challenger on Saturday to move two games and more than 72 percentage points clear on top of the ladder.

The Magpies defeated Numurkah 43-27 and have faced every side in the top six for an average winning margin of more than 25 goals.

‘‘It was really good, we enjoyed having a challenge,’’ coach Charlotte Long said.

The depleted Blues were simply no match for Moama, although Long believed the scoreboard did not do her opponent justice.

‘‘It felt a lot tighter than it looked,’’ she said.

‘‘They wanted it a bit more to start with, so it was a mental game after that.’’

With star Steph Watson rested for the clash with a recurring back issue, the Magpies will scarily get stronger as the season progresses.

‘‘We’re definitely trying to keep a lid on it,’’ Long said.

‘‘Things can change really quickly and we have a harder draw to finish the season.’’

With Tongala’s 49-37 defeat of Deniliquin and Echuca United’s 37-31 victory against Barooga, Numurkah has dropped to fourth spot.

The loss for the Rams leaves them two games behind the immediate chasing pack, while for the Hawks it was a case of the same story that has plagued them all year.

The six-goal loss to the Eagles is the sixth for the year by that margin or less, meaning that either Barooga is the unluckiest team in the competition or that it simply cannot close out games well enough.

Below the Rams a group of three teams have emerged as genuine chances to secure a finals campaign this year.

Mulwala finished the stronger of the two sides against Nathalia to take an important 57-51 win after trailing for much of the early stages of the contest.

The triumph catapults the Lions back into the top six, replacing the Purples, and was much-needed after they had lost five of their previous six matches.

Finley remains in touch with the pair, but blew a golden opportunity to further its chances when it lost to Congupna, 36-48.

In the final match of the round, Cobram kept Rumbalara winless with a 51-20 victory.

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