Big Cats at top of food chain

Panmure's Amy Eddis leaps high in a bid to cut a pass to Merrivale's Jodi Keane.
Panmure's Amy Eddis leaps high in a bid to cut a pass to Merrivale's Jodi Keane.

SUPERSTITIOUS netballers from the South Rovers and Merrivale ranks are sure to be on high alert after a quick glance at the 2011 fixture.

Both the Lions and Tigers are yet to drop a game this season, stampeding last year's runner-up East Warrnambool on their way.

But the big cats will battle just once in the Warrnambool and District Football Netball League (WDFNL) season - despite almost already having their paws on the two grand final tickets available.

And when should they meet but in round 13.

If that wasn't enough to have the easily-spooked unsure, there's more.

The date will be 2 July, 2011.

Add up those numbers (2+7+2+0+1+1) and sure enough you get 13.

What's the bet the wintry weather forecast will be typically miserable and a top of 13 degrees?

Rovers coach Kylie Carter said at least one of her teammates wore the same pair of socks each Saturday.

"But I don't think anyone is really superstitious," she laughed.

"I hope they all think (the number 13) is good luck though."

After cementing foundations last season, the Walter Oval-based pride has sprinted to the top of the WDFNL food chain.

"You need to have high expectations but we never expected to be here, undefeated," Carter said.

"Our team's going fairly well at the moment but there's still half a season to go.

"There's still always room for improvement."

With an average winning margin of 27 goals, it is hard to find any cracks in the Lions' line-up.

But Carter and her comrades are the first to admit there's work to be done.

"We have to maintain our intensity and put four good quarters together," she said.

"When you come up against top teams (losing intensity) can cost you a goal."

Rovers' realistic attitude and commitment to producing versatile players has been the winning combination so far this year.

Carter said the Lions were exposed against Timboon Demons two rounds ago but rallied when it mattered.

The coach switched almost all positions on the court for the final quarter to escape by a goal.

"We seem to have a lot more depth than last year," she said.

"That game shows how strong the league is and we were lucky to get that win.

"We've still got a long way to go."

Rovers will confront Old Collegians, Panmure and Deakin University before facing Merrivale.

But the watchful Lions are already preparing for the Tigers.

"We know it will be really tough," Carter said.

"From all accounts their goalers have been really accurate and that can be the difference."

While the Lions seemingly don't need any lucky charms, perhaps they should avoid walking under that A grade ladder they are leading - just to be sure.