ON TOP: Goal defence Mel Whitworth's (pictured) partnership with fellow defender Jessica Roberts led Flames to victory.
ON TOP: Goal defence Mel Whitworth's (pictured) partnership with fellow defender Jessica Roberts led Flames to victory. Alistair Brightman

Flames keep heat on Hervey Bay Netball's leaders

A NEW-look team has helped Fraser Flames earn their way to Hervey Bay Netball's top three.

The Flames returned to second on the Division 1 ladder courtesy of a 10-point win over Cosmos Eclipse, but it is they play each other that has Flames co-ordinator Melissa Champney excited about their finals chances.

She said Georgie Carland was an enormous presence at centre when she was on-court, while the Di McGregor and teen Kristy Wedmaier had developed a scintillating partnership in the attacking circle.

"They work very well together," Champney said.

"Kristy's is only 15 and playing Division 1 and Georgie is integral every time she plays."

The defensive team of Mel Whitworth (left) and Jessica Roberts paved the way for Flames' win over Eclipse.

"They almost managed to keep Cosmos scoreless for the last quarter. (Mel and Jessica) were responsible for that," Champney said.

"The way this team works together is awe-inspiring.

"We lost a few players at sign-on as they moved away but we have a number of new players as well.

"You do have to pick a 'best and fairest' each week but I find that a really difficult thing to do."

Flames will face Bullets Nubees this week in a battle between two of the comp's top three teams.

It will be the first time the two have faced off this season, as Bullets forfeited their fifth-round clash.

Bullets will be fresh after the bye but Champney said her side would work hard.

The winner will pressure on Breakaways Bayside, who remain six points clear atop the HBNA ladder.

Breakaways are undefeated so far this year, and must be a favourite for the Division 1 title.

Champney didn't buy into the claim, saying every team is beatable on their day.

"I think (Flames) will give it their all to be there," Champney said of Flames' grand final hopes.

Cosmos Kryptonites will face Eclipse in the Division 1 game this week. Breakaways have the bye.



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