River Murray Netball Association 2019 grand final preview: Undefeated Imperials aim for six titles in a row against Mypolonga

Well, it has all come down to this, the final week of netball for season 2019.

We have seen some great netball over the past 21 weeks of competition and this Saturday does promise to be the best of them all.

On Saturday last, the association held its annual presentation night and announced the best n fairest players for all grades, along with the A grade team of the year and coach of the year.

For the team of the year there will be seven players on court this week for you to see.

The coach of the year award was won by Mannum coach Jemma Woollard, who took on the task of blending her more experienced players, along with the up and coming younger players from the club.

Mannum very nearly made the grand final this season and a lot of that improvement and consolidation of all players, must go down to Woollard and her approach to not only the game, but also to her players.

  • Senior playing times: 12.45pm - A reserve & B reserve; 2pm - B grade & C grade; 3.15pm - A grade.

A grade

Imperials v Mypolonga

In this week's grand final Imperials will meet Mypolonga again for the flag.

In the elimination final Imperials found themselves really pushed hard, like they haven't felt for such a long time, and it was a pressure they probably needed to feel.

There is no weakness within the Blues line up, as each area of court is very ably represented by strong confident players, as coach Carrie Daniels knows.

In goals Jenna Daniels and Casey Gregory, are players who know what the other will do and how they move to create space. Both have strong hands and are more than confident to put shots up in the shooting zone.

In the centre court area, Olivia Bolt controls the mid lane between goal circle to goal circle, moves in and out with ease and always knows where she is going and what she will do with the pass, before she gets the ball.

While on the wings, Laura Berling at wing attack is a reflection of Bolt when it comes to ball control and feeding accuracy.

These two players make things easier for their shooters, to not just feed them but to feed the space they move into.

At wing defence you could see either of the Harkness sisters, Genna or Lucy, for both are strong in contest, good hands, great communication skills and love to hunt the ball.

In defence there will be Teagan Lang and Crystal Berling.

These two defenders are a new combination this season but have settled well together, both read the play equally well.

Intercepts by either of these two players can be what can decimate an attacking side.

Mypolonga are not quite as settled as Imperials, but there are options for player movements for coach Sharmon Banks.

Through the centre court the Tigers have Kelsy Gepp, Stacey Kempe and Ashleigh Horsnell.

All three players combine very well, but do give a bit of size away to the Blues if they hope to take centre court control away from the Imperials players, they must play in front and minimise penalties.

In goals we can see any combination of three players, Zoe Kiley-Gepp, Brooke Watson and Nadia Manly, which two will take to the court only Banks will know, for each combination brings something different and Banks will want the right combination from the start of play.

In defence there will be Georgia Steinert, Emma Kluske or Manly, again any combination can give Banks something different, but make no mistake all three players know what will be required of them to counteract Imperials dominant shooters.

This will be potentially a great game of netball, it is hard to go past Imperials for the win, but in grand finals stranger things have happened and never under estimate the Tigers.

A reserves

Mypolonga v Imperials

Mypolonga have won on the three occasions that they have faced Imperials so far this season.

Mypolonga have lots of options in their goal circle in which to select the best line up that they can.

Lauren Nolan and Lexi Blight can handle the shooter position while Georgia Duell and Kate Nolan can handle the front spot.

For Imperials Alyce Clarke, Sarah Crane and Larissa Schenscher will take on the shooting duties for the Blues.

All of these players give the Blues accurate shooting, athletic movement in and around the circle with rebounding skills - all pleasing for coach Rebecca Roberts.

Through the centre court region, Mypo's, Sarah Duell, Gemma Schilling, Alana Reed and Joanne Boots can give coach Lauren Nolan fast smooth delivery into the goal circle, while providing strong defensive pressure throughout the court area.

Imperials will hit the court with fast dynamic players that give speed, with experienced minds, strong hands and accurate feeding. Interception opportunities no matter where on court, will come from Madison Fielke, Molly Adler, Simone Cocks and Chloe Roberts.

In defence for Mypolonga Kate Nolan and Kirrily Martin will carry the work load for the Tigers and although Nolan comes with A grade experience, Martin is new to this grade this season, but if needed Blight can also back up into defence.

Imperials' Leah Williams, Stephanie Hagger and Rachel Edwards will provide the defensive pressure needed against the Tigers, players that can read the ball very well, allowing for interception opportunities along with being able to block and stop shooters movements.

It would be hard to say this game won't be a Tigers victory for they have dominated this grade for a number of seasons, but never under-estimate the underdog.

B grade

Tailem Bend v Meningie

These two teams have met three times so far this season.

Tailem Bend will be surprised to be up against Meningie this week, for they would have expected to face Imperials but obviously the Bears had other plans.

On each occasion over the season Tailem Bend have had good wins against Meningie by a minimum of 16 goals.

Tailem Bend may be guilty of thinking this week will be an easy contest while Meningie will know they have absolutely nothing to lose, but everything to gain.

Tailem Bend have a strong, versatile team that can give coach Leonne Capes whatever she needs; good strong players, who can hold their ground and provide good feeding options anywhere on court.

They are not afraid of physicality when challenging for the ball; each player's objective has and always will be, to take control of their positions and give their team whatever it will need to succeed.

Meningie, under new senior coach Bridget Richards, has had a tougher year in learning what her team can give and where to actually place them.

Although she may have found the way hard to start with, the team has found their feet and their combinations.

Players like Laura Brumfield as captain, ably supported to by A grade coach Shauna Chaplin at wing attack, not to mention Georgia Whitehead, Megan Lewis and Annabelle Wright can give their team the drive and control to work the ball through to their shooters.

Defensively, the Bears' experience is matched with youth in Meaghan Lewis, who is a promising junior player.

This game looks to be a win for Tailem Bend, but they may find it will not all go their way and they will have to earn it against a determined Meningie side.

B reserves

Mypolonga v Imperials

Mypolonga will face Imperials for the flag in this grade with six players named in the top 10 on court in this match.

Not only will best and fairest player Katrina Jones in action but also runner-up Emma Rance will take to the court for Imperials.

While in Mypolonga's team the third highest point winner Demi Jenner will also be on court for her team.

These two teams met each other twice in the minor round games earning a win each and although results in the qualifying final favoured Mypolonga, Imperials have just as much chance of taking out the win this week.

There are a number of player contests to watch in this game, none more challenging that the battle for full court control between Mypolonga's Hannah Brown or Katelyn Thurston at wing attack on Imperials wing defence Amber Monjean or Jayme-Lee McKay.

The Tigers will want their main feeder moving free while Imperials wingers will want to shut that feeder down.

Adding to the drama will be Mypolonga's centre Danielle Monjean taking on Rance for dominance through the full court area.

However, the battle most worth keeping an eye on will be Mypolonga's Catherine Challenger, at wing defence on Jones for Imperials; if there is any difference between these two players it is that Jones has had A grade experience while Challinger has not.

This will be a good game of netball, potentially not has physically challenging as the grades above, but will be played with just as much desire for the flag, the win should go to Mypolonga but achievements like best and fairest awards can lift teams.

C grade

Imperials v Ramblers

Contests between these two teams have been calm, controlled events, that have had their moments of ups and downs throughout the season.

This was particularly true on the second occasion they met when the heavens opened up and neither team really wanted to be out there in the rain.

Imperials have had the upper hand over Ramblers on the last three times, but in the first match of the season in round five Ramblers did run out the winners, so they have and will believe that they can take this game.

Imperials will rely on their leaders in Tina Penhall, Micala Gurney and Tayla Dunning to lead the way with strong attacking play, while in defence Casie Smith and Jodie Jarvis will head up the team's defensive end.

While for Ramblers Krystal Weetra and Destiny Shaw will take on the shooting roles, ably supported by Melodee Barton-Ancliffe when needed, movement in and around the circle creates good feeding opportunities.

In the centre court area, Charli Juergens, Danielle Somerville and Ashley Rodgers will carry the ball down to their attack end at a fast pace with good ball control and good vision.

Defensively Ramblers will use both Avril and Christine Herbertson's abilities to apply pressure, rebound well and generally just make things as difficult as possible for their opposition shooters.

This will be a consistent game of netball, there will be minimal high-flying leaps and drives, for the game will be controlled with doing the right thing with the ball as the main focus for both teams.

Imperials do have the upper hand for the win, but Ramblers has tasted it once this season so no-one in the Blues camp should be over confident.

17 and under

Ramblers v Imperials

Ramblers have been strong in this grade all season and will want that strength to be ever present this week as well.

Ramblers real strengths in this team starts with coach Tania McFee, one of Ramblers best and most experienced past A grade players.

Second strength, is players Lucy O'Neil and Annabelle O'Neil who have been members of the Rambler A grade team this season and now, more than ever, have a good understanding of what it means to play netball at the top level.

Alisha Barton and Jatora Seidel have ably backed up and supported O'Neil within the goal circle, while Seidel can easily step out into the wing position and provide strong accurate feeds into the circle by using good choices and excellent vision.

Wearing the centre bib, Eboni Taylor has improved this season, works hard both at attacking and defending and uses her long arms to her benefit.

In defence, captain Annabelle O'Neil, Abbey Lehmann, Alisha Hutchinson and Sheniqua Shaw bring so much pressure to bare that very few teams have had easy success in penetrating their goal circles.

The Rambler team is very disciplined and not afraid to make their opponents work harder than most, they are tall and able to read the play well.

Imperials coach Tracey DeMichele knows only too well the attributes that Ramblers bring to the court each week and knows her girls will be well and truly up against it this week.

In goals for Imperials Danielle Daish, Cara Hameister and Leticia McNicol will carry the workload for the Blues, with the use of smart thinking, good elevation, exciting dynamic play and players who love and thrive on big games.

In the centre court area Holly Temby will lead the way at centre ably supported on the wings by Zoey Temby in attack and Shabbecca Giles-Karpany in defence.

These players will have to be creative with change of pace, good strong hands, accurate feeds, and use their height and elevation for intercepts.

Defence for Imperials is where the most pressure will sit, for if they hope to get on top of and shut down Ramblers shooting strengths, then Akuot Kuany Chol and Sophie Reu will have to use their speed and athleticism to their advantage.

This will be a great game of netball and Ramblers definitely have the advantage but midway through the season it did not look like the young Imperials team had any chance of making finals, yet here they are, all with their fingers crossed.

15 and under, division one

Meningie v Mannum

Meningie and Mannum will compete for the flag in this game in what will be a display of some of the best juniors within our competition.

Meningie have been the dominant team in this grade all season but it must be noted that Mannum did draw first blood way back in round seven.

Meningie has one of the most accurate shooters in Chelsea Swan at shooter, who this season has also benefitted from time playing in the A grade, so coach Gaye Chaplin will look forward to this week's game not just for her team, but also for her Club.

For not only does Chaplin have Swan in at shooter, but up the other end she has the Association's Best n Fairest for this age, in Meaghan Lewis at goal defence.

Meningie have so many players that have stood up to be counted this season, while also having Association team experience, which has also helped.

Mannum also have some good strong players, players like captain Elise Horstmann also in at goal defence, between watching Lewis and Horstmann play, spectators will see defensive work done at its best.

Charlotte Denver, Piper Wegener and when needed Mia Kluge, will be responsible for getting the scores on the board, all of these players bring accuracy, strong drives, defensive pressure when needed and good accurate ball handling, any two can do the job.

Wearing the centre court bibs will be Chelsea Hartley, Briannah Griffiths, Grace Lukey or Ashley Sinkinson.

And again, any combination of these four players can bring the ball down court to give to the hands of the shooters, or apply the right amount of pressure to create the turnovers that will be needed.

Amy Dohnt will step up in defence along with Horstmann to apply has much presence as possible, good footwork to work the shooters will be needed, elevation for intercepts and rebounds will also be an asset.

For any spectators during this time slot keep an eye in the Mannum goal circle, for in this relatively small playing area we will see the Associations Best n Fairest in Lewis standing the runner up in this grade Wegener.

It is hard to see Meningie not finish the season on a high, but as Chaplin will know, never under estimate this young Roo's team.

15 and under, division two

Mypolonga v Ramblers

Games between Mypolonga and Ramblers have this season on only the two occasions they have met, been games of good ball control and accuracy.

Although Mypolonga have had the upper hand, coach Bailee Holmes will need that purpose and control to be there this week for she is facing a mighty opposition, led by Tania McFee who knows what it takes to play and win in grand finals.

Kathryn Hutchinson and Peyton Allen will wear the shooting bibs for the Tigers, while Hannah Schutz, Jacinta Fritchely and Hannah White will do all that is required throughout the centre court area.

Defenders Erin McDonald and Larissa Pike will carry the majority of the defensive work load and will have to be on their toes right from the start of play and not let Ramblers find their range.

Bella Pike, Claire Ruckenstuhl and Georgia Martin should be on the side lines to help out in any way that they can.

While for Ramblers shooters Chelsea McKenzie-Campbell and Isabelle Bedding will provide good strong leads, with height to give them the edge on rebounds, while also creating the space for movement and opportunity to open up the goal circle.

Through the centre court area, Emily Allen, Abbey Smyth, Mia Parker and Kaitlyn Atkinson will provide the opportunities that will be required through good ball control and good feeds into the circle.

Throw in some height for interceptions and defensive pressure over every ball, plus strong drives onto each pass and Ramblers will have their chances to dominant the area.

While in defence Hannah McFee and Charlotte Meddle will carry the defensive mantel to take the ball away from Mypolonga's shooters.

This will be another game where Association trophy winners will be on court both this time will be wearing the goal attack bibs.

This should be another good game of netball and should go to the Tigers, but they are going to have to win it, for Ramblers will never just give it away.

13 and under, division one

Rambler v Mypolonga

Games between these two teams have been tough but respectful this season and this week's grand final should be just the same.

Ramblers players Georgia Trevorrow, Shania Modra, Lilly King, Shontae Kartinyeri, Rosie Vowles, Layla Hearne, Taite Whiting, Tanaisha Oliver and Leah Anderson-Morris will want to bring all of their assets this week for coach Ally Bormann.

Their strengths have been, creating good strong leads, by working the space into the goal third and making the ball flow nicely into their shooters.

Ramblers defences have worked well together, establishing good communication and open space to bring the ball back down the court with consistent forward movement, intercept attempts when needed, while maintaining pressure on every opposition pass.

Mypolonga's team of Kady Reu, Ava Lindner, Jade Burgess, Makayla Stimpson, Megan Clothier, Georgia Martin, Baylee Cooper, Claire Ruckenstuhl and Bella Pike will give coach Gemma Schilling lots of options and solutions to questions that may be asked.

There is experience within this team, with good strong hands, good passing, defensive pressure and communication, in short very similar strengths just like their opposition.

Shooting accuracy could be where this game is won or lost, but shooters need opportunities so defensive turnovers could very well be the number one name of the game.

Ramblers have been strong all season, so it is hard to see them come undone this week, but Mypolonga's players will want it just as much.

13 and under, division two

Ramblers v Mypolonga

Ramblers this week will be represented by Bronte Folley, Claire White, Bella Freaney, Teya-Lee Wilson, Rubie Lienert, Nikki Jackson, Jahmila Power, Holly Lynch and Mekaisha Meyers.

This combination of players has worked well together this season and although games between these two teams have not had major score, games for both teams have had opportunities for victory.

Mypolonga have Teegan Ackland, Shaylee Martin, Angelina Bates, Lillie Jerram, Jasmine Bailey, Rhea Kempe, Jessica Deane and Amber Vardon to hit the court ready and willing to do all that they can.

Games between these two teams have seesawed at different times, due to applied defensive pressure and turnovers, there have been times when the ball has travelled up and down the court before any goals have been scored.

Quarter time break scores have always been close between these two teams and we can expect more of the same this week, nerves are where the winning team may find their edge.

It is hard to see Ramblers not take out the flag but they must realise Mypolonga will come at them again and again and they will need to weather the storm, if they want the success.

11 and under, division one

Mypolonga v Imperials

Eleven goals was the difference last time these two teams met in the qualifying final, Mypolonga will look to better that score, while Imperials will want to change the outcome.

Mypolonga's team consists of Reagan Martin, Demi Harrington, Ava Schubert, Breanna Kuchel, Alexis Watkins, Ariel Challinger, Camryn Brehaut Jacinta Clark and Alarah Sipos.

All of these young up and coming players are coming to now understand what playing in a full competition is all about.

The days of rotating players and positions is gone.

From now on they get to earn the bibs that they want to wear, so perfecting selections is one of the hardest things for coaches to achieve this season.

All of Mypo's players work well together and all encourage each other to achieve what ever it is their coach Zoe Kiley-Gepp asks of them.

Imperials coached by Belinda Michalik will want exactly the same for their coach.

Kira Barnett, Mia Williams, Zoe Michalik, Jasmin Harrowfield, Lara Franke, Gemma Cocks, Talissa Torrans, Amelia DeMichele, Jayla Leckie and Caitlin Koop will give their coach all that they can.

These young players have improved over the last part of this season, their shooters are accurate and reliable.

They use their height and vision to their advantage and both are learning to read the play.

In the centre court area, all work tirelessly to achieve their targets for ball control, they apply great defensive pressure and turnovers, while minimising their own errors.

In defence their defenders work hard to get their hands to as much ball as possible, quick feet is an attribute of these players, body work and restricting shooter movement is another aspect they have worked hard on.

This will be a good game of players starting to feel their way and understanding of the game, it is hard to see Mypolonga letting this game go.

11 and under, division two

Mypolonga v Mannum

Mypolonga and Mannums games this season have really been a bit up and down all season.

With this being our youngest age group, most of these players will be competing in their first ever grand final, this is the game where nerves could have the most input.

Mypolonga's team consists of Zoe Harrington, Alarah Sipos, Ruby Datson, Cianna Watkins, Charlotte Patten, Ava Hagger, Imogen Murison and Matilda Spaan.

For Mannum Shaylee Maloney, Lauren Gladigau, Amily Bailey, Zoey Hutchens, Sienna Grieger, Abigail Matakangce, Isabelle Morland, Lara Booth and Ruby Jarred.

When these two teams met in the qualifying final Mypolonga were winners by two goals, in the first quarter there was only one goal difference at the first break, that difference was still there at half time.

However, the third quarter belong to the Tigers six goals to only two, giving Mypolonga a five-goal lead going into the final quarter.

Mannum came back on court for their final quarter knowing it was now or never and that is exactly what they brought.

Mypolonga managed only one goal in that final quarter, while Mannum scored four.

Mypolonga managed to hang on for the win, but those lapses of applied pressure and good conversions could have impacted differently.

Both teams will need to be on their toes this week for a full game if they want to take out the premiership flag.

Mypolonga should take the win but Mannum are playing on their home courts which could make some difference.