A STRONG start is the goal for Calivil United and Bridgewater in Saturday’s A-grade netball grand final in the Bendigo Bank Loddon Valley Football Netball League.
Week four of the Poyser Trucks Bendigo-backed finals series has the premiership cups up for grabs at Laser Plumbing Bendigo Oval in Bridgewater.
This season’s meetings between Calivil United and Bridgewater stand at 2-1 in favour of the red and white.
In round four, Bridgewater scored a 55-49 victory on Calivil’s court.
The 13th round clash ended in a 53-44 win for Bridgewater at home against the Demons.
A fired-up Demons played brilliant netball to beat Bridgewater in the qualifying final, 43-40.
A week later and Calivil United stunned Mitiamo in a 40-35 result in the second semi.
Bridgewater bounced back from the qualifying final defeat to score a 20-goal win against Maiden Gully YCW in the first semi and then ended Mitiamo’s season with a 52-42 victory in the preliminary final.
Bridgewater coach Claudia Powell said the qualifying final loss stung the team into action.
“We didn’t bring the intensity needed in finals netball the last time we played Calivil United,” Powell said.
“We had to step up and the girls have done that the past two wins.”
Key players for Bridgewater include league medallist and brilliant centre Jessey Wilson.
Emily East at goal attack, and Ashlee Donnan as goalkeeper have played a big part in Bridgewater’s run to the grand final.
“We are aiming to have the same start as the past two finals,” Powell said.
“Moving the ball at pace and being proactive instead of reactive will be really important.”
The birth of Powell’s first child is due soon.
“Olivia Collicoat has helped a lot as assistant coach all season, so she will take charge if needed,” said Powell.
In her first year at the club, Powell said Bridgewater had a great mix of new and previous players who had worked to reach the grand final and were determined to win a long-awaited A-grade title.
Calivil United coach Karen Pascoe said a great start in the qualifying final played a big part in being able to defeat Bridgewater three weeks ago.
“A good start is Bridgewater’s trademark, so we worked hard to put the pressure on from the first pass,” Pascoe said.
“All year our game plan has worked in most matches, especially the second half of the season.
“Possession play is a key to our game.
“The win against Mitiamo in the second semi lifted the confidence of every player.
“The last quarter against them was one of the best we have played all year.”
Calivil United has a fair amount of finals experience.
“Christie Rogers in attack and Lauren Miller at goal defence have both played in an A-grade premiership with Eaglehawk in the Bendigo Football Netball League.
“Their big-game experience is a huge plus for us.”
Calivil United goes into the clash with Teigan Redwood on the sidelines because of an Achilles injury.
Pascoe and Redwood have been joint coaches for the red and blue this season.
The Demons won the A-grade grand final against Maiden Gully YCW in 2014, and were runner-up to Pyramid Hill a year later.
The A-grade match starts at 3pm.
Schedule for LVFNL netball grand finals:
15-under at 10.30am: Maiden Gully YCW v Inglewood.
C-reserve at 10.30am: Inglewood v Mitiamo.
17-under at 12pm: Calivil United v Inglewood.
C-grade at 12pm: Inglewood v Mitiamo.
B-grade at 1.30pm: Maiden Gully YCW v Bridgewater.
A-grade at 3pm: Calivil United v Bridgewater.