Claws' season goes on the line in Cairns tonight
NETBALL: The Rockhampton Leagues Club Capricorn Claws have it all to play for in their final round game in Cairns tonight.
They must beat the Marlin Coast Marlins and then hope results fall their way tomorrow to ensure a place in the Queensland State Netball League Division 2 Country finals.
The Claws and Marlins are both sitting on 12 points. A win for the Claws tonight would move them to 14 but they then have to wait on the result of the Marlins' final game against the bottom-placed Wide Bay Thundercats tomorrow to determine their fate.
"We've got a tough task ahead of us but the girls are feeling pretty good,” coach Barb Ahmat said.
"We have to concentrate on our game on Saturday and then see what unfolds on Sunday.
"It's that unknown that's the more nerve-racking.
"We need the Thundercats to produce the game of the season and, if they are defeated, hope the goal difference is not significant.”
The Claws and the Marlins have played out some thrilling contests during the season and Ahmat expects nothing different this time.
One thing in the Claws favour is they have just the one game this weekend instead of a triple header, which has been a regular feature of their draw this season.
"That will certainly be an advantage for us, having to focus on just the one game,” Ahmat said.
"The last time we played the Marlins we were up by eight goals in the first quarter but in the end we just ran out of legs.
"That won't be an issue this time and we think we're capable of getting the win.”
The Claws have talent across the court, from their dynamic shooters Jacinta James and Tia Konui to the effective defensive trio of Lily Bartlem, Bec Hall and Abbie Buchholz.
Ahmat said the Claws were very familiar with the Marlins style of play and knew what they had to do to counteract it.
"We've got to maintain confidence in our shooting percentage because we've had one of the highest in the competition,” she said.
"We know we just need to put the ball up and not give the opportunity for intercepts with the defence.
"We have to get the ball to our shooters quickly and put the goals in and create as many turnovers as we can.
"Our defence is working really well in combination and does pretty well against the Marlins shooters.
"If we stick to the game plan I'm sure we'll come up with a good game.”
The Claws will have to fly home before the deciding game between the Marlins and the Thundercats is played tomorrow.
"We'll need someone there to keep tabs on the score for us,” Ahmat said. "There will be plenty of text messages going back and forth on Sunday.”
Meanwhile, the Claws 19s travel to the Gold Coast for a double header this weekend.
Rockhampton goal shooter Taylah Cox returns to the line-up after playing in an Australian indigenous schoolgirls team in Fiji last week.
The team is however without Emerald defender McKennan McIndoe who suffered a a serious ankle injury last weekend..
The team plays Darling Downs Panthers at 2pm today and the Brisbane Easts Tigers at 10.30am tomorrow.
Open: Jacinta James, Tia Konui, Lily Bartlem, Courtney Wheeler, Ashlee Whouley, Brittany McHugh, Bec Hall, Shanita Smith, Abbie Buchholz
19s: Emily Bleney, Taylah Cox, Cooper Corbett, Miesha Huet, Ellie Nasser, Holly Newtonm Zeckeisha Oakley, Yasmin Ramsay, Tori Rouse, Jane Surman