Major semi-final winners, New Kids Aces, will meet minor premiers, Uranquinty, in Saturday’s grand final of the Wagga A grade netball competition at the Wagga Netball Centre.
The Aces, who ended Uranquinty’s undefeated status in the major semi-final will be out to win their fourth premiership in five years, missing only last year’s grand final in that time.
Uranquinty, by contrast, will feature in their third grand final in that period.
The two played off for the Cup in 2014, with the Aces winning.
Prior to the finals the teams met three times in competition during the season with an opening round draw, a two-goal win to Uranquinty and finally a five goal win to Uranquinty before the Aces turned the tables for an 11 goal win in the major semi-final.
The young Uranquinty team is in their second grand final in as many years, with seven of them remnants of 2016. Additions in the 11-strong squad are Abbey Morton, Georgia Tillyard, Abbey Lowe and Matilda Vearing.
That grand final experience gained in last year’s decider, which they lost to Shooting Stars, will surely help the youngsters overcome the nerves.
Meantime, New Kids and finals go ‘hand-in-hand’. No doubt some of their players will still be nervy in the big match, but it’s just a ‘done thing’ for at least three New Kids players, Lisa Reynoldson, Rachael Addison and Lisa Frow who’ve been a most important ingredient for the Aces’ past success.
The outcome of the game could well be determined by the ability of the Aces to shut down the scoring power of the Uranquinty shooters, Hannah Finemore and Lana Duffy.
Aces’ coach, Naomi Hocker, surprised many by putting playmaker, Rachael Addison on Duffy for the second half of the semi-final and that move was so successful she may start in defence.
If not, the two regular circle defenders, Lisa Reynoldson and Tracy Schulz-Cole are seasoned finals campaigners and will certainly make it hard for the shooters.
At the opposite end of the court, New Kids have any three to fill the two shooters’ spots. Lisa Frow is the experienced one, but Flynn Hogg and Mikaela Cole, on her day, are both very capable shooters with an excellent conversion rate. Uranquinty’s Grace Cornell has had a most consistent season at goal defence and Ella Finemore’s height is a huge asset at goal keeper.
Centre court players of both teams are fast and skilful. New Kids will look to Emma Kleine in defence, Abbey Corbett or Addison in the centre and Cole or Corbett at wing attack to match it with Quinty’s Tameka Scott, Georgia Tillyard and Olivia Tillyard.
As has been shown throughout the season, these two teams are very evenly matched and Saturday’s game should be no exception.
It’s almost a case of wily experience against youthful enthusiasm.
Aces will be out to repeat their semi-final success, while Uranquinty could well be looking to win the cup that they missed out on last year, despite being favourites for the match.
A grade grand final likely line-ups
New Kids Aces: GK Lisa Reynoldson, GD Tracy Schulz-Cole, WD Emma Kleine, C Rachael Addison, WA Mikaela Cole, GA Flynn Hogg, GS Lisa Frow, Abbey Corbett, Rhiannon Podmore
Uranquinty: GK Ella Finemore, GD Grace Cornell, WD Georgia Tillyard, C Tameka Scott, WA Olivia Tillyard, GA Lana Duffy, GS Hannah Finemore, Abby Lowe, Abbey Morton, Brooke Tillyard, Matilda Vearing