CANBERRA vs KNOX Saturday 24th March – 5:30pm @ Belconnen Stadium
After their separate performances last week, Canberra and Knox have earned the right to contest the game of the week.
Canberra will be riding a wave of confidence after their win last round. They won every quarter against Brisbane, their stars all had good performances, but they also had solid contributions throughout the team. They comfortably led in all the key categories – shooting percentages, rebounds, assists and steals, while they only gave up 11 turnovers in a solid display of ball control. But taking on Brisbane is not the same as taking on Knox. The Capitals Academy can expect a much sterner test this week. Turnovers will be punished, and baskets harder to come by. But if they can come away with a win over the Raiders, a team that is certain to go deep into the finals, expect the rest of the competition to sit up and start taking notice.
In their win over Dandenong last week, Knox gave enough indications to suggest they will be a legitimate force this year. Granted the Rangers looked like they were coming off a three-day bender, but for the most part the defending champions were simply outplayed by a team that had higher intensity levels and played with a lot more purpose. More pointedly, players we hadn’t seen enough of in the past showed themselves to be better than just good players. Shanae Greaves is a dangerous and smart player near the basket. Sam Donald looks increasingly comfortable at this level. And Odette Andrew adds leadership and skill. Even more impressive is the way newcomer Kelly Wilson has fitted into the team, and when Amy Denson does eventually return, this is going to be one solid outfit.
Both teams will feel they have something to prove. Just like Geelong last year, Canberra will be desperate to be seen as a serious playoff team. Knox meanwhile has a bunch of players eager to make the most of the opportunities given to them under a new coach.
Prediction: Canberra by 3.
GEELONG vs HOBART Saturday 24th March – 5:30pm
Sans Deanna Smith, Geelong still hit the ground running last week, dispatching Nunawading in fine style. Hobart also started well, with import Lindsay Laur winning Player of the Week. Should be a close one, maybe Geelong by under 10.
SANDRINGHAM vs FRANKSTON Saturday 24th March – 5:30pm
Frankston pulled out the upset of the round 1 by defeating Bendigo, a championship favourite. With another win the Lady Blues can start the season 2-0 unless new Sabres star Tegan Cunningham and her teammates gel very quickly.
ALBURY/WODONGA vs LAUNCESTON Saturday 24th March – 6:00pm
For two teams that look like struggling in 2012, this game represents an opportunity to get some early confidence with a moral-boosting win. With their imports now settled in, the Lady Bandits should get over the line at home.
KILSYTH vs BALLARAT Saturday 24th March – 6:15pm
The Rush belted Albury-Wodonga last week, but they can expect a far tougher opponent this round. Kilsyth have the players to slow Nat Taylor, and should be fresh after a week off in round 1. Only a few baskets could be the difference.
DANDENONG vs LAUNCESTON Sunday 25th March – 12:00pm
The Rangers will be embarrassed by their 0-2 start to the season, but they should return to the winners list this week against the Tornadoes. But if they drop this one to the Torns, alarm bells will start ringing for the Rangers.
NUNAWADING vs HOBART Sunday 25th March – 12:30pm
With Eleanor Brentnall to battle the new Hobart bigs, expect this to be an enthralling battle in the paint. Nunawading will probably start slight favourites, but the Lady Chargers will fancy themselves in an upset.
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