LIKE any good drama, the Warrnambool and District league A grade netball competition has been full of predictable characters in recent years.
There’s been the overwhelming premiership favourites, perennial finals contenders, underdogs, hard-luck stories, danger sides, rebuilding groups and easybeats.
But not this year. Six-and-a-half wins separate the top from the bottom.
Merrivale is arguably the premiership favourite but hot on its heals is Panmure.
The pair drew 23-all in round six and will reconvene in round 17.
Merrivale playing coach Danielle McInerney has netted the third-most goals in the competition with 177.
Tigers teammate Angela Collins is fourth on the goal scoring charts, with 170, but the key shooter moved interstate during the break.
After the Tigers and Bulldogs is a pack of ambitious sides fighting for a finals ticket.
First there’s South Rovers, which has profited from a favourable draw and is clinging to third spot.
It is an admirable effort by the Lions, who lost the majority of their premiership side in the off-season.
Next in line is the rampaging Dennington, which won the single game last season.
The round five match between Rovers and Dennington was decided by a goal, in the reigning premier’s favour, but the Dogs would have counted it as a small victory to come that close.
Then there’s Old Collegians and Kolora-Noorat which have posted five wins and four losses.
Warrior Stephanie Townsend is the top goal scorer in the competition, sinking 234.
Kolora-Noorat’s Linda Clifford is the second best goaler so far, netting a total of 182.
It is near impossible to separate the two, so hopefully next weekend’s match between the pair will answer some questions.
The remaining six outfits could all assume the identity of danger sides.
Nirranda has beaten Collegians, while Creek only fell one-goal short to Dennington. Timboon toppled Nirranda and East Warrnambool upset Rovers.
Allansford and Deakin University have also secured two wins each.
With nine rounds to play, the congestion on the ladder should play out like an enthralling drama series in the prime Saturday afternoon timeslot.