RMNA grand final sports up for grabs

This week, 24 teams will come out with one ambition in mind: to win the day and play in next week’s grand final. Most games are as expected however there were three minor premiers who have found themselves playing this week.

Finals action: Mypolonga's Stacey Kempe in action during her side's final on Saturday. The Tigers will face the Bears for a spot in the grand final. Photo: William Bailey.

Finals action: Mypolonga's Stacey Kempe in action during her side's final on Saturday. The Tigers will face the Bears for a spot in the grand final. Photo: William Bailey.

To some that is an asset in not having a break, but to others it is a mishap that they cannot allow to happen this week. To all teams playing: congratulations on making the preliminary finals.Good luck also to the umpires that have been selected to officiate this week.

Playing times: 7.45am: Under 11s division 2; 9am: Under 13s division 2 and Under 15s division 1; 10.15am: Under 11s division 1 and Under 15s division 2; 11.30am: Under 13s division 1 and Under 17s; 12.45pm: B reserves and A reserves; 2pm: C grade and B grade; 3.15pm: A grade.

A Grade

This Saturday in the A grade preliminary final we will witness Meningie and Mypolonga go goal for goal for the fourth time this season.

In round four, Meningie drew first blood with a win by two goals, but after that it has been Mypolonga who have walked away with the points.

In round 11, Mypo won by 14 goals and in the final match, took the game by 21 goals. The last two victories will give the girls at Tigerland a psychological edge, but finals create more pressure and psychological advantages sometimes account for little when a grand final berth is on the line.

However, the Tigers must be aware the Bears want to play in the final game just as much, if not more than they do, so what has happened in past matches may have little impact now.

When these two teams met in round 19, Meningie were not at their full physical strength, as a number of players had been ill leading up to the Saturday game.  This week, the Meningie players will make sure that they are fully fit and ready to play.

All shooters will have their work cut out for them this week; accuracy will be the telling factor in this match so let’s hope the weather plays its part.

At each encounter between these two teams there has been one vital match up that will again be on show this week between Meningie goal attack Mikayla Nicholson and Mypolonga’s Sheridan O’Brien.

Both of these ladies know how to play the game and both will give themselves to winning for their prospective clubs. Meningie have a lot hanging on their entry into the grand final, as the club and its personnel have invested a lot of time and energy into making 2017 the year of the Bears.

That will not happen if they cannot get passed the Tigers this week.

The advantage must be said to be with Mypolonga, as each player has finals experience and knows only too well what is expected and what the nerves can bring to a game.

Meningie on the other hand have some players who have never experienced the pressure this week will bring and will have to deal with nervous tension potentially more than others.

Mypolonga should have the advantage, but Meningie have a lot riding on this game so should not be underestimated in going for the win, with 100 per cent conviction.

A Reserves

In Saturday’s A reserves preliminary final, Mannum will face Imperials in what promises to be one thriller of a game. These two teams have met three times so far this season and Imperials lead the stats two wins to Mannum’s one. Imps took the win in rounds two and nine, but Mannum were able to turn the tables in round 19, how is that possible you may ask.

Quite easily, when you consider in round two Imperials had not settled their A grade side, so some players who played in this A reserves game actually went on to gain selection in the number one team for the Blues. The second game between these two teams could have gone either way as the difference between them was only two goals at the end of play.

Both clubs have some very experienced players in their sides and none know how to give an inch when it comes to finals time.

Imperials will need players like Genna Harkness and Joanna Grosser to continue their strong drive in the Imperials attack end and feed shooters Sarah Crane, Libby Frazer and Tamara Mark with the accuracy we have come to expect from them.

With the shooting accuracy of the Mannum shooters Shohan Fidge, Deanna Paech or Monique Eggers, Imperials defenders Brooke Byrnes, Skye Cossich, Stephanie Hagger and Rachel Edwards will need to apply as much pressure to these three shooters as possible and rebounds will be of vital importance to both teams.

Mannum centre court players, Kimberley Rathjen, Rachel Gassner and Danika Oosthuizen will provide the drive; strong quick hands and defensive pressure the team will need to create turnovers through the centre court area of play, and young Zara Male will be there as well should she be needed.

As Mannum defenders Kellie Klose and Georga Wiebrecht work extremely well together in the opposition goal circle, the feeders for Imperials will have to provide the very best passes that they can.

Each time these two teams have met the game has been of a very high standard and intercepts and deflections have created many turnovers for both teams. The pressure this week will be no different; both teams want to play in the grand final so everyone can expect this game to be just as tight and physically contested as those in the past. It will probably come down to the team that holds their nerves, makes less mistakes and converts with confidence that will win the day. I believe that team will be Mannum.

B grade

Tailem Bend and Mypolonga will meet in this season’s B grade preliminary final. These two teams have met three times this season and no game has had a greater score difference than seven goals, which makes these teams very competitive.

The biggest strength for Tailem is the quantity and versatility of their twelve players, with any number of combinations available for experienced coach Leonne Capes to choose from.

Although this quantity and versatility can be an asset, it can also be a curse when it comes to selecting the right team to get the job done. Mypolonga on the other hand do not have the same number of players in which to select from, due mainly to the loss of defender Lauren Howson. Coach for Mypolonga Anne Martin has worked hard with her remaining seven players and is ever so thankful for her bench players Meg Daniel and Bailee Holmes.

Tailem have won two of the three times these teams have met and each time the margin has been by seven goals.

Seven goals equates to only one error per quarter from the losing team, one error in fifteen minutes of play is such a minor game changer, that it can quickly become quite frustrating. Tailem want to have another go at Ramblers and prove that they are their clubs highest graded chance for a flag this season.

Competition for the ball is fierce between both of these teams; and each and every player will contest for every opportunity they get.

Shooters for both teams will feel a lot of pressure on their shoulders, for if the ball does not go through the ring that will become the rebound turnover neither team will want.

However a game is not just won or lost by shooting accuracy, defensive errors need to be kept to a minimum as neither team will not want to give away scoring opportunities.

These two teams have been so competitive with each other this season that it is hard to pick a winner as nerves are going to impact on this game.

However, it is hard to go pass Tailem Bend as they have the one game win advantage to their name.

B Reserves

No one expected to see minor premiers Imperials in this week’s preliminary final, especially opposition team Ramblers. 

These clubs have met three times this season and Imperials had two convincing wins, but in round ten Ramblers managed a three goal win.

Imperials have a very experienced defence, with Belinda Michalik, Kara Stevens and Rianna De Michelle leading by experience and determination, determination will make opposition shooters work as hard as they can.

In the centre court for Imperials is Katrina Jones, Nikita Hein, Monique Thompson and De Michelle giving coach Katherine Murdoch plenty of variation. Goal scoring is left with Tina Penhall, Lacey Williams and Rochelle Matthews.

This combination of players forms a formidable opponent for any club. There is a vast valuable finals experience in this line up. Experience that has taught the team that the game is theirs for the winning.

Ramblers on the other hand don’t have the same amount of finals experience and other than the three goal victory in round ten, they lost by at least fifteen goals.

The Roosters will look for all players to come out fighting. They have a strong defensive combination in Tayla Groves and Reney Kropinyeri, and this combination has posed a few problems for Imperials in past encounters.

Through the centre court region Ramblers will look to Skyeisha Rigney, Jazmin Callaghan, Fiona Garlett, Emma Patterson and Megan Johns to provide the versatility in attacking and also in backing up defensively to create the pressures and turnovers they will need, if they hope to take it right up to the Blues.

Shooters Gloria Ebsworth and Jessica Burt will need toscore with every chance they are given. 

This will be a tough game but it is hard to go past Imperials for the win.

C Grade

Ramblers and Tailem Bend will meet in the final grade of our senior competition.

Ramblers coach Trevor Wehrman leads this Roosters team with belief and determination, and is one of only a few men to take on the netball challenge.

Ramblers are led by co-captains Jessie Morgan and Madalyn Schulz. Both have shown strong leadership and thrive on the added finals pressure. Ashleigh Marcus along with Morgan provides the Ramblers team with a strong shooting combination.

In the centre court, Wehrman has many options up his sleeves. Schulz along with Alev Erkoc, Natasha Pickering, Chelsie Garlett and Sharnie Crouch all put their hands up.

Ramblers defenders are mother-daughter combination Chris Herbertson and Danielle Somerville. It’s rare occurrence for a mother and daughter to play in a team together, let alone in such a vital area as defence.

There are a couple of experienced players within this team that not only lead by example but also provide a confidence and belief that the younger players just absorb with ease.

Tailem Bend are just as versatile as Ramblers, starting with their captain Lisa Colmer at goal defence. Colmer features regularly in her team’s best player votes, a defender who drives well into attack whilst providing her team with good direction.

Vice-captain and wing-attack Krista Harris drives well into the goal third and feeds her shooters with accuracy.

Shooters Michelle Storrie, Katie Aspel and Tahlia Long move well around the goal circle, creating space and provide strength in rebounding.

In the centre area, Harris, along with Ebony-Brie Foster, Chloe Lindner and Kate Smith give their team determination, strong leads, good vision and some very accurate feeds into thecircle.

Finally, in defence Amber Baxter, Hannah Lovett and Colmer can give their team the height for interceptions, great reach and pressure.

It isn’t easy to pick a winner. Stats say Ramblers, but the largest margin has gone to Tailem, so this is anyone’s guess.

Under 17

Tailem Bend take on Ramblers in the first of the junior grades.

Tailem, coached by Denise Edwards, would be surprised to see themselves facing Ramblers. But in finals teams can be underestimated and step up to the challenge of the do-or-die games.

Edwards would be well aware of these rare occurrences and will have her girls ready to take on all challengers.

Four Under 17 players will also feature for Tailem Bend, so it will be a big day for those players. One can only imagine how they will go next week if they find themselves fronting for two games.

Tailem captain Matilda Hughes will be ably supported by her team, Molly Maddaford, Claire Wheaton and Paris Holland-Long as well as the four players earlier listed.

Ramblers, coached by Mark Dougall, will be looking forward to this opportunity to challenge for a place in next week’s game.

They had a solid 13-goal win over Mannum last week.

Ashley Dougall and Jemma Chapman will carry the Ramblers main scoring load, but they have Lucy O’Neil who can be just as accurate.

Through the centre court Emily Burt, Skyeisha Rigney, Mickayela Altmann and Katisha Elder can form a formidable attacking defensive option for Dougall. 

In defence, Raven Morrison, Georgia Sibley and under 15 Abbey Lehmann will be just as ready and up to the challenge of stopping the Tailem Bend’s shooters as much as they can with their long reach, ability to read the play.

Ramblers have nothing to lose by having a good go at taking out this game. Tailem on the other hand will not want to be the team who should but don’t play in the this year’s game.

Under 15 Div 1

Tailem Bend will face Mypolonga in the Under 15 div 1 preliminary final. Tailem will be look for a convincing win this week after going down to Ramblers last week.

Tailem and Mypolonga have faced each other three times this season and in each game both teams have faced and adjusted challenges created by pressure from the other team.

The games between these two clubs has been of a high standard for this age group, although Ramblers are the number one team in this grade, both of these two clubs are not afraid to attempt an unexpected victory come Grand Final day.

Tailem Bend have been impacted by injury and have just seven players from their original team available to play, however Claire Pitt has stepped up from the team below to help.

Many of the players in this team have played finals before so they know what will be required of them.

Caitlin McEvoy, Frankie Traeger, Kyah Shepherd, Sallee Shepherd, Bridget Watson, Kayla Colmer and Gabby Schubert make up the team along with Pitt.

The Mypolonga team will be over the moon to have this opportunity at making the grand final, but with only seven players available they will hope their coaches have all the right answers.

This means that they are evenly matched and each and each of them should be proud to be playing this Saturday.

Lily Miegel, Chloe Pahl, Chelsea Gotch, Kara Reed, Shawna Denman, Tahlia Hunter-Glasser and Chelsea Thurston will give all that they can, for they, like Tailem, would like to line up the following week in the grand final.

Tailem Bend have at the moment a slight advantage over the Mypolonga players.

Under 15 Div 2

Mypolonga will take on Mannum in an unexpected result from last week’s elimination final.

These two teams have only met twice this season and Mypolonga have been the more settled team.

Accurate shooting often decides matches, and Mypolonga’s two shooters Alisha Hutchinson and Jayda Stimpson will need to continue providing good leads, continuing to work the circle area well and maintain strong positioning. Mannum’s Chelsea Jarred, Alyssa Marafioti, supported by Charlie Denver, will give their team some height to provide easy targets for feeders, as well as the body and hand strength to take the pass and convert.

In the centre third, Mypolonga’s Molly Bretag, Abbey Schofield and Teagan McLoughlin will provide speed and agility, while giving clear leads, and can change their play from attacking to defensive mode whenever necessary. 

Mannum have three centre court players that can be just as effective. Shekira Cradock, Caitlin James and Alanah Baumann-Cooke are all players that can utilise their abilities of speed, drive, timing to provide good clear leads and defensive pressure when required.

Mypolonga’s defence Larissa Pike and Kealey Reschke will carry the majority of the workload for the Tigers. Both of these players will work the goal circle to make shooters work to gain possession. Both can also rebound strongly on missed shots.

Mannum’s Jacynta Clark, Tristian Dunn and Amy Dohnt will apply as much pressure to Mypolonga’s feeders as they can.

Mypolonga have the edge on pass results and should take out this win to face Tailem Bend in the grand final after only going down by three goals in the qualifying final last Saturday.                  

Under 13 Div 1

Meningie, who finished minor premiers, will meet Imperials.

Both teams will come into this game with nine players. These clubs have met twice during the season and each team has scored one victory.

For Meningie, Meaghan Lewis, Tammin Clark, Trisha Leccio, Katrina Brown, Lauren Parsons-Avery, Jessica Turner, Destiny Shaw, Chelsea Swan and Imogen Allen will come out this week to seek revenge of last week’s loss, as they will want to face Mannum in the grand final, so Imperials can expect an assault in every position on court.

Imperials Paige Bonson, Danielle Daish, April Rigney, Hannah Williams, Phoenix Rogers, Ella O’Brien, Caitlin Hissey, Leticia McNicol and Tiarna Nottle will have their work cut out for them right from the start of play.

Passing will have to be accurate and hit the mark no matter the pressure. Minimal errors will be what is needed to give both teams scoring opportunities.

Rebounds will be a feature on any missed shot for goal as both teams have strong rebounders, and some players have the ability to come though and intercept feeds into the goal circle.

The winner in this game will be the team that goes out with a set purpose and sticks to the game plan. This game won’t be wonearly, pressure will last for the whole game.

Under 13 Div 2

Mypolonga and Ramblers have faced each other twice this season, the first time ended in a draw, the second game was a big win to the Tigers.

Each game started with a strong lead to Mypolonga but also in each game Ramblers played hard to peg the game back they succeeded in the first game but were not able to manage it second time around.

Although Mypolonga have only seven players this week, Katie Hutchinson, Peyton Allen, Bella Pike, Makayla Stimpson, Baylee Cooper, Georgia Martin and Hannah Schutz they do have versatility within the team. Only two players appear to be specialist players within the one position each, Hutchinson in goal shooter and Stimpson in at centre. All other players provide coach Victoria Hughes with options to make any changes should there be a need.

Ramblers have nine players coach Yvonne Stiller has in which to choose a team from, but even with nine players there is still playing position options for all players.

Cheslea McKenzie-Campbell, Yunalesca McGrath, Mia Parker, Tanesha Paterson, Zoe Portarianos, Holly Rose, Abbey Smyth, Savannah Walker and Hannah White.

Both teams play a very defencive style, passing errors has been something obvious in both games, but those errors can easily be accounted for by defencive pressure.

Mypolonga have lead each time these two teams have met and Ramblers have had to try and chase them down.

It is hard to pick a winner, as these two teams have not met since round 13, however in that instance Mypolonga did have a convincing win, can this week be the same.

Under 11 Div 1

Imperials and Tailem Bend – each time these teams met has resulted in a win to the Blues, but by seven goals or less. Seven goals doesn’t sound a lot, but being eleven and under, every goal is hard fought for.

We don’t generally see big scores from this division, and as some players will experience finals for the first time,nerves can have a serious impact on young minds.

Imperials Caitlin Michalik, Georgia DeMichelle, Olivia Eldridge, Millie Daniels, America Greenshields, Abbey Harrowfield, Mattea Willason, Ella McNicol and Mia Perriman will need to work hard face Ramblers again in the grand final.

Tailem Bend’s Elyssa-Kate Zadow, Sophie Edwards, Casey McDonald, Chloe Pitt, Skye McFarlane, Olivia Tucker and Sarah Clark will have to use each and every asset to their advantage if they want the win.

Tailem Bend coach Leonne Capes is very experienced at coaching and will know only too well how nerves can impact on this age, so will do all that she can to get her players focused on the game and not the result. 

However Imperials have a lot of experience also in their leaders with Lacey Williams and Belinda Michalik very experienced players themselves, let alone team manager Kim Perriman.

It is hard to see pass Imperials for the win in this game, however how many times over the years have we seen the unexpected happen.

Under 11 Div 2

 Mypolonga finished minor premiers in this grade, but last week went down to second place Ramblers so the Tigers this week will face Imperials to play for a place in the grand final next week.

Mypolonga’s team of Jessica Deane, Rhea Kempe, Reegan Candy, Isla Gielen, Lillie Jerram, Ava Lindner, Shaylee Martin and Angelina Bates are a team of little dynamos.

Imperials have Hayley Kimber, Sasha Robinson, Elise Franke, Alicia Koop, Ella Raymond, Charlotte Bury, Kaitlin Rigney, Alivia Carter and Jasmin Carr are also a team of determined netballers.

This grade is generally made up of the youngest of our players, and it takes a lot of confidence and belief to get out there and play in finals, something most will experience for the first time.

The team that can settle first and for the full game is the team that will record the win, Mypolonga have the advantage with the last time these two clubs met Mypolonga ran out winners by 22 goals in the wet.

Spectators can be the element of the game that neither team will have control over, let’s hope everyone on the sidelines cheers loudly but allows every word that comes from their mouths be words of positivity towards all players, and the sport these girls have chosen to play.