Rivals Ballarat Pride and Geelong Cougars face off

ADDED on-court bite is guaranteed when Ballarat and Geelong clash, especially on the road.

Federation University Ballarat Pride will travel to suburban Geelong to face arch-rival the Cougars, in what tends to be a close Victorian Netball League match-up.

Pride claimed its sole championship division win last year against the Cougars – and the Cougars scored their sole season win against Pride.

The turnaround is tough – this will be the second of three games within eight days for Pride – but is the same for all VNL clubs, each with a weekend fixture then back at State Netball Hockey Centre mid-week.

Pride spokesman Jordan O’Keefe said it required a careful balancing act, especially as a regional club.

“We have to be more vigilant in the daily training environment of players, their individual recovery and training programs, because we only have that one core training session as a full group on Sundays,” O’Keefe said.

“We’re all spread out and girls tend to train a bit in geographical isolation during the week.”

Pride is yet to have a win across its three divisions after playing traditional heavyweight Boroondara Genesis and City West Falcons in the opening rounds.

Each rival boasted Melbourne Vixens and Australian Netball League players in its marquee team.

The Cougars, under new coach Gerard Murphy, fell two goals short of Southern Saint then clearly beat Murphy’s former club DC North East Blaze.

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