The Rock-Yerong Creek is confident training hit-outs against a Riverina League flag contender will help offset a lack of match practice before Saturday's netball semi final against Charles Sturt University.
After having the bye in the last round of Farrer League and the first week of finals off as unbeaten minor premiers, the Magpies organised two practice games against Mangoplah-Cookardinia United-Eastlakes to avoid any rust.
It worked a treat for the Goannas who toppled Riverina League minor premiers Collingullie-Glenfield Park last week, and Magpies coach Sarah O'Leary is hopeful of a similar result at Robertson Oval as they strive for a third straight premiership.
"It would have been three weeks off in between games which wouldn't have been beneficial, but we've had two really tough hit-outs against Mango and the girls played amazing," O'Leary said.
"It helps a lot more than training because we're playing a full, competitive game and seeing what areas we're lacking in.
"I know a few of the girls can slack off and get a bit comfortable (at training), but having that hard game is really beneficial."
Gun defender O'Leary said combating the style of an unfamiliar opponent should hold them in good stead against the Bushsows, a rematch of last year's grand final.
"They (MCUE) are a bit quicker than CSU but their shooters (Sophie Fawns and Katie Caller) are amazing, it put pressure on us defenders and when we had the ball they played man-on-man, so the girls had to step up."
O'Leary said she will persist with playing sister and regular defensive partner Emily at wing defence on CSU's Kirsty Lowe after road testing the tactic in a 46-40 win over the Bushsows early this month.
"I think it benefited us because she puts more pressure on Kirsty, and if she dominates early they look for her a lot in their attacking end," she said.
"It makes our defending job in the circle a bit easier having Ella Finemore in their with her extra height.
"That's how we'll start on Saturday and see how it goes."