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SFNL Netball Grand Final Preview

DIVISION 1 Heatherton Black v Dingley

Meetings This Season

Second Semi Final (Heatherton Black 49-35)

Round 13 (Heatherton Black 47-31)

Round 3 (draw 52-52)

Form Line

Heatherton Black – WWWWW

Dingley – WLWWL

Dingley finished the regular season in pole position, but the one side they have been unable to defeat is Heatherton Black. Indeed, their draw in Round 3 this year is the only time they’ve been able to avoid defeat in the last seven meetings between the two competition heavyweights. Dingley will feel that this will count for little in the pressure cooker atmosphere that a grand final brings, and will take great confidence from their victory over Caulfield in a classic preliminary final. Their makeshift shooting combination stood up well against Caulfield’s elite defenders, and Laura Piper and Bridget Furphy will need to play similar games if Dingley are to salute here.

Heatherton Black appear to have few weaknesses across the court. At each end of the court they have solidity and class: Rahni Samason and Nat Billings have been unstoppable on occasions in attack while in defence Kirsten Daley provides the solidity that gives their whole court faith. The Mifsud sisters have shepherded an at times young and inexperienced mid-court, and given them the solid base on which they have been able to thrive. This battle is likely to be decided in the middle. Taylah Fiddes and Nikki Tulley have both had excellent seasons playing around the experienced axis provided by Dingley stars Alicia Wise, Shae Wonnacott and Sara Merkus; they will need to be at their best to give their shooters enough ball to post a winning score.

Dingley won the Preliminary Final with 48 goals. They will need at least that many to avenge last season’s grand final defeat and be crowned premiers. Can they do this? I’m not so sure, and will tip Heatherton Black to go back-to-back.

DIVISION 2 Heatherton v Caulfield

Meetings This Season

Round 12 (Heatherton 68-24)

Round 6 (Heatherton 43-30)

Form Line

Heatherton – WWWWW

Caulfield – WWWWL

Heatherton come into the Grand Final undefeated, while Caulfield have tasted defeat six times in their 15 outings. This may sound like a David v Goliath style battle, but don’t be fooled, for if Caulfield can bring the intensity and sharpness that they showed in disposing of Dingley in the Preliminary Final, they can match any team. The first half of the Second Semi Final against Dingley showed up cracks in the Heatherton armour that hadn’t been seen in matches past, and whilst the system was able to be reset in the second half of that match the win was not Heatherton’s most convincing.

To get over the top of the black and whites, Caulfield will need to put a lot of work into quelling the force of Sophie Bartlett, who has netted more goals on her own than the entire Caulfield side this season. The likes of captain Mandy Quinn and Jaime Regnier have done an excellent job in feeding her the opportunities to score; while a solid defence led by Kirsty Mann and Belinda Kay have been the tightest of any side in the division. Caulfield will pose a threat of their own, with Brie Cooper an imposing and creative wing attack, Caitlyn Ashby and Hannah Shilling in good shooting form, and Megan Ellett in fine fettle in defence.

Coach Sue Kimber will be looking for revenge here after Caulfield’s loss in the Division 1 Preliminary Final. They will try and give Heatherton plenty to think about in attack, but I feel that posting a winning score in this match may be just beyond them. Heatherton to win here.

DIVISION 4 Dingley Gold v Heatherton White

Meetings This Season

Second Semi Final (Dingley Gold 49-34)

Round 15 (Heatherton White 47-43)

Round 6 (Dingley Gold 44-39)

Form Line

Dingley Gold – WLWWW

Heatherton White – WLWWW

There is very little between these two sides as they meet again on the final day of the 2017 season. Dingley Gold took an early lead in their recent Semi Final, which Heatherton White could not pull back, but I wouldn’t be taking too much notice of the margin in that encounter. This Heatherton White side is rich in experience and resilient in attitude, and they needed all of that poise and guile in requiring extra time to see off their Heatherton Black counterparts last week. The amount of petrol that this has taken out of the Heatherton tank could be a key factor here; another one will be the ability to stop Dingley’s star shooter Bianca Waras-Carstenson and her sidekick Shannon Bailey. I’m not so sure that Heatherton can do this effectively enough to prevent a Dingley victory here.

DIVISION 6 Dingley Red v Heatherton

Meetings This Season

Second Semi Final (Dingley Red 46-24)

Round 8 (Dingley Red 51-30)

Form Line

Dingley Red – WWWWW

Heatherton – WLWWW

Division 6 was one in which only two points separated first place from fourth. As is so often the case in such close competitions it is the top two sides which have won through to the Grand Final. Dingley Red have dominated the two meetings between these sides this year, but their defeat of Heatherton in the semi-final is the only loss that either has suffered in the past five weeks, so the form line is strong for both sides. The game pits the competition’s strongest attack in Dingley against the strongest defence in Heatherton. Heatherton have thus far been unable to impose their defensive will on their Dingley, but I feel that the tension of a Grand Final may allow them to do this somewhat more easily this time around. This game will be a lot closer than the previous meetings between the two opponents, but the ingredients of this match up all point to a Dingley victory for me.

25 August 2017


Tom the Lumberjack

Tom the Lumberjack


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