After cruising through the first 11 games of 2016, the Lady Cobras suddenly find themselves in a dogfight to keep control of the South Conference’s best record. Kilsyth has lost two of its past three games, including an 81-71 defeat at the hands of Launceston. With the ten point loss, the Lady Cobras are now on the wrong end of the regular season tiebreaker with the Tornadoes, and now embark on a difficult stretch of their schedule as the season nears its close.

Following three straight road games, the Cobras return home to take on reigning champions Dandenong, who enter with an 11-5 record. The Rangers are led by Lauren Scherf (17.9ppg/13.1rpg), Aimie Clydesdale (16.6ppg/3.2apg), Clare Papavs (14.2ppg/7.7rpg/3.4apg) and Chloe Bibby (11.9ppg/7.4rpg), giving Dandenong a potent starting group.

For the Lady Cobras, they are led by reigning MVP Steph Cumming (22.8ppg/5.6rpg/3.1apg) and Jasmine Gill (20.8ppg/10.2rpg), with the pair establishing themselves as one of the league’s deadliest duos. While Cumming and Gill have carried Kilsyth offensively, Rosie Moult and Emily Fryters have made their impact felt on the defensive end and will be relied on heavily to slow Scherf down low.

Last time out, it was Kilsyth who edged the Dandenong on the road, 78-73, behind a combined 54 points from Cumming and Gill. With the Rangers looking to stay within striking distance of Nunawading for top spot in the East and the Cobras needing a win to keep Launceston at bay, this one has all the makings of a mid-season thriller.

The Cobra Men find themselves in the midst of a four-game skid, following road losses to Hobart and NW Tasmania last weekend. With their record now sitting at 7-11, the Cobras will need to be near-perfect for the remainder of the season if they hope to secure a playoff berth, as they trail the fourth-placed Thunder by 3.0 games in the South standings.

Dandenong enters with a 9-8 record, tied for third in the East Conference, and enter as one of SEABL’s hottest teams, having won four of their past five games. The Rangers are led by 2015 MVP Daequon Montreal (23.5ppg//8.0rpg), Lucas Walker (17.1ppg/6.7rpg) and Andrew Harms (15.8ppg/4.6apg), while Lucas Barker (12.0ppg/4.1apg) has been solid since joining the team in mid-May.

Kilsyth is led by Kyle Adnam (18.2ppg/3.5apg), Tim Lang (15.5ppg/8.0rpg), Joel Naburgs (14.3ppg/7.2rpg) and Avery Johnson (13.3ppg/6.6rpg). While the Cobras have plenty of offensive firepower, it’s been their performance on the defensive end that has let them down, allowing an average of 87.0ppg during their current losing streak.

These teams last met in Round 3, with the Kilsyth losing on the road, 79-93, behind Montreal’s 30 point night. The Cobras will need to do the job collectively on ‘DQ’ if they hope to exact their revenge on the Rangers, and if they can contain the likes of Harms and Walker, they have a chance to put an end to their current skid.

Finally, we would like to congratulate Dandenong’s Clare Papavs on reaching the 300 game milestone this weekend. A Kilsyth junior, Papavs was a key member of Kilsyth’s SEABL Championship winning team in 2008 and played over 100 SEABL games for the Lady Cobras.