BRONTE Emanuel has laid down the law to her fellow Bathurst Goldminers – there is no way they are losing this Saturday night’s match against Coffs Harbour.
The Goldminers will meet the Suns in the first half of their Women’s State League away double-header, with a match against Maitland Mustangs to follow on Sunday morning.
If the Goldminers get the better of the Suns, it will move them ahead of their hosts on the competition ladder, but that is not the main reason Emanuel has fired up her team-mates.
“Bronte told the girls the other night they are not going to lose that game because she used to play in Coffs Harbour,” Goldminers coach Paul Masters said.
“When you are playing against your old association you never want to lose against them.”
While that game will have plenty of passion, so too will Sunday morning’s clash with the Mustangs.
The last time the rivals met was in the 2016 semi-final, the Goldminers winning that game 72-62 as they defeated the Mustangs for the first time in two years.
“Maitland are a bit of a hoodoo side for the girls. Two years ago they won both round games and I think the girls lost a semi-final to them,” Masters said.
“Then last year they lost the round games again before the girls won the semi-final to get into the final – so there’s a bit of a love-hate relationship there.
“I think they girls will be out to revenge some past games this weekend for sure, so they should be switched on.”
What will help the Goldminers’ cause this weekend is the return of tall Haylee Lepaio and young talent Matilda Flood, who was part of the New South Wales Country outfit at the recent Australian championships.
That pair missed the Goldminers’ last match against Shoalhaven when the Bathurst side surrendered a 10-point lead to go down 60-57.
Had they gone on from a 51-41 advantage with seven-and-a-half minutes to play, the Goldminers would be sitting on top of the ladder instead of being fourth.
“I think we played well against Shoalhaven, but it’s so hard to win down there because they have a vocal crowd and it’s a bit of a trip to get there before the girls jump out of the car and have to play,” Masters said.
“But the girls are pretty focused now on not giving up another loss. They know they got battered a bit in that game, but that’s sport. It has made them pretty keen to not give up a 10-point lead if they are in that position again.
“Backing up won’t be a problem for them.”
Saturday’s match against the Suns will commence at 2pm, with Sunday’s showdown with the Mustangs to tip-off at 9am. Both will be played at the Minto Indoor Sports Centre.