PREVIEW | NSL Round 5 – Intrigue aplenty

THERE are plenty of intriguing clashes this weekend in the Netball Super League, and with the up and down nature of the form of many teams this season, these results could be decisive.

Strathclyde Sirens vs Cardiff Dragons
Friday at 7:30pm
Sports Hall, Emirates

The Sirens are back at home for the first time this season, and that home court boost could not come quick enough for the Scots after a poor start to the season. They currently have both the lowest average goals for and the second highest average goals against figure in the competition, so they need to flip those quickly.

This week they come up against a Dragons side who have had an inconsistent start to the season, but will look at this game as a perfect opportunity to get some consistency into their season.

This is probably not the week that Sirens shooters Bethan Goodwin and Sesandile Ngubane needed to be facing when they’re trying to get back in form, facing some of the most in form defenders of the competition in Leah Middleton and Jacqui Newton.

Team Bath vs Saracens Mavericks
Friday at 7:30pm
Team Bath Arena

Bath’s run of home matches has not gone well for them so far, but they will be hoping that changes tomorrow night when the Mavericks come to town. The Mavericks themselves are on a bit of a form slump after a pretty good opening fortnight of the season, so will also be looking for a form turnaround.

Bath has the highest average goals against figure in the competition through the first month of the season, but Jayda Pechova and the rest of the Bath defence are going to have a tough task trying to turn that around this week when they are up against a shooter that in form as good as Emma Thacker is.

Manchester Thunder vs Surrey Storm
Friday at 7:30pm
Belle Vue Arena

After a bad start to the year, the Storm are in a good run at the moment, but this week’s assignment is certainly a tough one, off to Manchester to play the Thunder in the third of tomorrow night’s trio of matches. They face a Manchester side on top of the world at the moment, coming off a battle of the undefeated sides and full of confidence having won that.

Storm coach Mikki Austin will have plenty on her plate tomorrow night, not least having to keep Thunder’s Natalie Metcalf from having much of an influence on the game.

Loughborough Lightning vs Leeds Rhinos
Saturday at 6pm
Sir David Wallace Arena

After a poor start to the season, the Rhinos have finally got things back on track a bit after picking up their first win. The way they were able to win that match too will give them some confidence especially after the first three weeks of the year, but the difficulty increases this week a few degrees having to come up against the in form reigning champions Loughborough.

A particularly intriguing battle in this one will be Mary Cholhok against Geva Mentor. Cholhok is in impressive form, but she has not had to deal with anyone like Mentor so far this season.

London Pulse vs Severn Stars
Saturday at 7pm
Copper Box Arena

The last match of the weekend should be another entertaining clash. Two of the in form teams at the moment battling to maintain their spots in the top four.

Sigrid Burger has been in good form for the Stars so far this season, but one thing that made the Stars get undone last week was they kept going the aerial route and the Thunder defenders were intercepting too easily, and coming up against a defender like Funmi Fadoju this week, they cannot afford to make the same mistake this week.

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