Katie Robinson believes Nova have a point to prove in Newcastle championship netball on Saturday but expects their opponents Inner Glow to be full of confidence after an unbeaten start to the season.
Inner Glow backed up a hard-fought three-goal win over Kotara South with a gritty 39-32 victory over BNC last weekend while Nova sustained a comprehensive 58-39 loss to West Leagues Balance.
The opening two results have Inner Glow in a three-way tie for the top of the table with Souths and West on seven points while Nova are fourth with five.
"I think they are riding high in this competition," Robinson, who plays midcourt for Nova and shares the coaching duties with Desley Cowen, said.
"I think they've found their spot and they're definitely going to have some confidence behind them, and a team with confidence is pretty hard to beat. But sometimes coming off that belting we had last week means we've got a little bit to prove."
Goal shooter Brooke Fennings returns for Nova after being unavailable last weekend but Thunder will be without goal attack Caity Lobston.
"I think Brooke will be key for us this weekend and [wing attack] Hannah Stephenson," Robinson said.
"If we can her into the game and get her feeding into the circle with confidence she'll be one to make a difference for us. If she can get going, we will all get going."
It is the first time Inner Glow have come up against a top-four side from last year in this campaign and coach Dwight Graham was expecting a good test.
"If you look at the ladder and based on last year's knowledge, Nova and us are probably vying for the top four, so it's an important game," Graham said.
"We believe they've got a combination of experience and youth and that they're quite fast through midcourt, so we'll be trying to slow them down and trying to negate the tall shooter as much as possible.
"We also want to play our game in attack and not rush. At times last week we rushed it but when we played our own game we played really well."
Inner Glow goalkeeper Caitlin Davis is out injured and shooter Tayla Winter is unavailable but shooter Hannah Purcell and defender Sara Gilbert come back into the side.
Attacking player Aela Streatfield is likely to make her first appearance for Inner Glow and midcourter Jessika Christensen is expected to play again. Christensen was not intending to play this year but took the court against BNC last weekend.
"She played wing attack for us last week and was very good," Graham said.
"She's got a really good game sense and reads the game really well, so is just always at the right place at the right time."
In other round-four matches University of Newcastle play BNC Whanau, Souths take on Kotara South and Junction play West Leagues Balance.
All games are at 3.48pm.
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