Clash of the titans in Orange Toyota Cup

WHEN you think of Orange Netball Association Toyota Cup blockbusters, there’s only ever one game that springs to mind - Life Studio up against Robin Hood Orange Glass.

OUT IN FRONT: Mardi Aplin will lead an understrength Life Studio against Robin Hood in today's Toyota Cup grand final rematch. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 0524netball7

OUT IN FRONT: Mardi Aplin will lead an understrength Life Studio against Robin Hood in today's Toyota Cup grand final rematch. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 0524netball7

But, really, can anything be taken out of such a contest in May?

“Absolutely,” Robin Hood coach Cindy Gilchrist fired ahead of her side’s match-up with Life Studio today at Anzac Park.

“I think it’s a good gauge to see where we sit at this stage of the season. For us, Life Studio is the pinnacle, they’re the team we strive to be like.”

With a full strength Robin Hood set to take to the court, Gilchrist believes the key to overcoming Life Studio will be the experience of guns Tegan Dray in the mid-court and Erin Johnstone inside the circle.

“They’re strong right across the court, as I’d hope they’d think we are too,” the Robin Hood coach said.

“For them, there’s always the Mardi factor too.”

But today that might be the only factor working in Life Studio’s favour.

The perennial grand finalists will be without a stack of ONA talent, with Em Brotherton, Nat Carthew, Charlotte Jasprizza, Mel Vardanega and Sophie Beer all sidelined this weekend through injury or previous commitments.

Describing her team as “underdone” in the lead-up, Aplin was confident whoever takes to the court will rise to the occasion in her side’s toughest game of the season so far. 

“Brooke Burcher and Leanne Trefry will come into the team. Brooke’s a young Sheahan girl who has been fantastic for us this season, and Leanne is a player who has dropped back to division two, but will play for us this week,” Aplin said. 

“I’d love to see some consistency. It’s been a bit of a wish-wash start to the year for us. We haven’t really cemented a starting side at this stage with injury and people being away, which is typical Life Studio. That’s the aim for the back-end of the year.”

Adding to the already glittering rivalry between the two, Gilchrist said today’s clash will be the perfect opportunity for the ONA’s best to get a tough game under their belt before the long weekend’s state championships begin in Campbelltown.

Today’s Robin Hood-Life Studio clash will begin at 1.10pm on Court A.

In other round five games, High A tackles Life Studio DVM Embroidery, Hawks Ace Drilling will front KWS 1sts and CYMS Gladiators will look to knock off Royal Hawks.

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