BALLARAT Pride will be without captain Johanna Dash for its final home game this season.
Dash, who is overseas, leaves a huge gap in the centre-court for the Victorian Netball League championship division clash against Geelong Cougars at the Wendouree Sports and Events Centre on Sunday.
Fed Uni Pride has called on former player Gina McCartin, versatile in goals and through the mid-court, to bolster the Pride bench.
Pride must look to experienced state league veteran Lauren Atkinson, experienced elite basketballer Cass Peace, a first-year Pride player, and Sharni Godfrey to provide the drive and relentless defensive efforts Dash would offer.
Ballarat and Geelong always serve up exciting battles on the court but the Cougars will be a tough assignment this time round.
The Cougars are ninth on the ladder, one position above the winless Pride, but have five victories to their credit and games they have lost have generally been close.
Pride fell 22 goals short of the Cougars when they met for a round three fixture in February at Christian College in Geelong.
There is a chance this could be the final chance for netball fans to watch Pride in action.
The club has made a bid for a new VNL licence, after it was initially cut from the league in April, and the VNL is in the process of shortlisting applicants.
Pride has called on Ballarat netball fans to show their support courtside.
Melbourne Vixen and retired Australian Diamonds gaoler Catherine Cox added spark to a specialist training session this week.
Cox worked closely with Pride’s championship and 19/under goalers, particularly on how best to use their body for holding in the circle.
Championship circle defender Emma Ryan, a back-up goaling option, also took part in the session.
Ryan has formed a strong defensive combination with Emma Farrant and entertained Pride fans with their flashy aerial display.
Pride is determined to band together and serve up a strong performance – with three rounds to play, Pride has nothing to lose.
VICTORIAN NETBALL LEAGUE
BALLARAT PRIDE v GEELONG COUGARS
at Wendouree Sports and Events Centre on Sunday
Championship division: 3.30pm
Division one: 2pm