MANGOPLAH-Cookardinia United-Eastlakes co-captain Shannan Russell has endorsed Ava Moller and Katie Caller as the ideal foils for each other in the shooting circle after Saturday's 55-35 win over Wagga Tigers.
Despite losing sharpshooter Sophie Fawns to NSW Swifts, the defending champions have sent a message they're again the team to beat.
The result followed an impressive round one win over fellow flag fancies Griffith. Shooter Katie Caller's return, plus the elevation of young goal-attack Ava Moller, has allowed them to deal with Fawns' departure.
Caller, a tall and physical goal shooter, is back in the fold after two years off. Moller, who was part of the NSW under-17 train-on squad this year, has skills which complement Caller's.
"Ava's like a 'baby Soph' really, she's got a very exciting future," Russell said.
"I feel like they work really well because Katie is so strong with her hold, and Ava is quite speedy and can run the circle."
The Goannas also have a new centre in Rachel Mullane, and Russell expects their attacking combinations to improve further.
The Tigers win was Moller and Mullane's first match of the year.
MCUE led 27-20 at half-time and effectively sealed the win by extending their advantage to 12 goals after the third quarter.
"Some of our other girls, particularly our feeders, we've been playing together for a while and they're quite mature players," Having them working with the girls, knowing where to place it, they pick it up really quickly. It shouldn't take us too long," she said.
I thought it was a really solid game. The score definitely didn't reflect the game, it was certainly a tough fight from both sides.
"Previously we've always struggled working through the Tigers' floating defence and their zone, but I feel like today we worked well through that.
"Instead of short passes through the middle third we went long and it worked."
MCUE is one of three teams to remain unbeaten through two games after Ganmain-Grong Grong-Matong and Turvey Park also registered wins on the weekend.
The Lions outpointed Coolamon 46-39 on Sunday, the Bulldogs held on 63-56 against a gallant Narrandera and Griffith held off Leeton-Whitton 51-43.
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