Wests Titans face massive Illawarra netball test

NETBALL 

Wests Titans will need to overcome a difficult start to their campaign before chasing their semi-final ambitions in the Premier League.

The Titans lost 44-34 in their opening round clash with SMJ and face another stern test against 2013 runners-up and title favourites Vipers in round two.

Vipers flexed their muscle in round one with a 74-23 drubbing of Woonona.

Titans coach Kay Buckley is expecting them to show a similar no mercy approach when they meet this weekend.

"We play Vipers who are supposedly the favourites for the competition, which I think is the right call," Buckley said.

"We are vertically challenged in our shooting end whereas they have a shooter who is probably a little over six-feet tall.

"They send in the hall ball to the shooter and we have to try and stall that movement up front.

"All the players in front of the goalkeeper have to put the players under pressure to force a poor feed into her."

For that to occur, Buckley will be looking to her defensive tp produce a similar display to what they did last week against SMJ.

The back court, however, will need solid support at their opposite end.

"Our defensive effort was really good across the board but I think we disappointed ourselves a little in attack against SMJ," Buckley said.

"SMJ performed really well and probably deserved to win. We didn't deserve to."

Wests' first-up opponents (SMJ) are likely challengers for a semi-final spot at the business end of the season, with Brindles and Vipers also considered serious contenders.

The Titans can't be ruled out of the post season picture, given the campaign is in its very infancy

"I am hoping that we would make the semis and go from there," Buckley said.

"To do that I think we are going to have to find a lot of improvement in our game."

In other matches last week, Corrimal RSL Cadets accounted for Woonona WBRSL 42-38 while the newly-formed Dapto Storm outfit were ousted 52-28 by Brindles.

Brindles and Cadets will meet this weekend with SMJ playing Dapto Storm and Woonona WBRSL up against Woonona McDonalds.

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