Magpies, Bloods fight to avoid elimination
CASTLEMAINE and South Bendigo will fight to stay in the netball premiership race when they meet in the Bendigo Bank Bendigo Football Netball League’s A-grade elimination final on Sunday.
It’s been a remarkable rise by Castlemaine in its return to the top grade this season.
Jointly coached by Gary Cooke and Fiona Fowler, Castlemaine marked a win-loss tally of 12-6 in the run to the finals.
A highlight for the Magpies was a 47-46 victory against Sandhurst in last Saturday’s 18th round clash at Castlemaine’s Camp Reserve.
The Magpies have not featured in the A-grade netball finals since 2013.
A huge recruiting coup by the club included netting Fowler, who has played at Super Netball Level, and Maddie Carter, a premiership winner in the Victorian Netball League.
The ‘Maine is up against an opponent which has also worked incredibly hard to be in the A-grade finals.
The Jannelle Hobbs-coached South Bendigo was beaten in the 2019 elimination final, but there have been a few changes to the line-up since then.
The Bloods are also on a court they know well.
South Bendigo won 61-46 when it took on the Magpies in round five at Queen Elizabeth Oval.
It was a low-scoring contest in the 14th round at Camp Reserve as Castlemaine took the points in a 45-27 result.
A great run by the Bloods on their court at the QEO included a round 15 win against Gisborne.
Best for South Bendigo in a long-awaited win against the Bulldogs were Olivia Mason at goal attack and teenager Ella Flavell at wing attack.
Key players for the red and white in a must-win final against Castlemaine include Chloe Gray and Chloe Langley.
For the victor it’s a step to a first semi-final against either Sandhurst or Gisborne on September 4.
A big day for South Bendigo includes four teams in action.
South Bendigo takes on Castlemaine in A-reserve.
The Magpies won 42-32 on the QEO in round five, but the Bloods struck back for a 35-29 victory at Castlemaine in the 14th round.
Castlemaine ended the home-and-away series with a win-loss record of 9-6 and a draw, while the Bloods went 9-7.
It’s a South Bendigo and Strathfieldsaye showdown in B-grade.
Record from this season’s meetings stands at two-nil in favour of the Bloods.
South Bendigo won 45-30 at the QEO in round seven.
It was a thrilling finish in the 16th round at Triple M Park in Tannery Lane as the Bloods won 44-43.
Eaglehawk and South Bendigo meet in the B-reserve clash.
The Hawks will start favourite to progress to a first semi-final.
In the round two match on Good Friday, Eaglehawk won 46-40 at Canterbury Park.
The Two Blues powered to a 49-35 win against the Bloods in round 11 at the QEO.
Sunday’s action begins with the 17-and-under match between Maryborough and Golden Square.
In round three, Maryborough won 40-26 on Golden Square’s court at Fur Life Oval in Wade Street.
Just a goal separated the teams when they met in the 12th round at Maryborough’s Princes Park.
On that occasion it was the Magpies who marked a 34-33 victory.
Schedule for Sunday’s elimination finals at QEO:
17-and-under at 10am: Maryborough v Golden Square.
B-reserve at 11.20am: Eaglehawk v South Bendigo.
B-grade at 12.40pm: South Bendigo v Strathfieldsaye.
A-reserve at 2pm: Castlemaine v South Bendigo.
A-grade at 3.20pm: Castlemaine v South Bendigo.
Written by Nathan Dole.