BY NATHAN DOLE
SANDHURST will be aiming for a clean sweep in all five of Saturday’s netball contests on Bendigo Bank Bendigo FNL grand final day at Queen Elizabeth Oval.
It’s been a remarkable feat by the Dragons to have all five teams qualify for that one day in September.
The Tamara Gilchrist-coached A-grade team from Sandhurst is chasing a fifth consecutive premiership.
Standing in the way of the maroon and blue is the Tarryn Rymer-coached Gisborne.
The grand finalists will clash from 3pm.
An unbeaten run by Sandhurst includes a 38-32 win on Gisborne’s court at Gardiner Reserve in the seventh round, and 47-31 result on the QEO in the 16th round.
Day one of the finals series included a 37-31 victory for Gisborne in the qualifying final showdown with Kangaroo Flat.
A week later and Gisborne took on Sandhurst in the second semi.
The Dragons won 44-38 and were first to the grand final.
Gisborne hit back for a 49-36 result in last Saturday’s preliminary final against Castlemaine.
Among the many strengths of the Sandhurst team is the mid-court play of co-captain Meg Williams, Shae Clifford and Paige Ryan.
A formidable attack is led by co-captain Bec Smith and Kelsey Meade.
In defence the experienced Heather Oliver teams up with Ruby Turner and Charlotte Sexton.
There’s plenty of depth of talent and versatility in the Sandhurst team.
Among the stars on court for Gisborne are Claudia Mawson, the playmaker from mid-court, and Zoe Davies who will soon leave for England to play for Leeds Rhinos.
Both bring exceptional speed, aerial ability and precise passing skills to the court.
In defence, Charlee Kemp’s athleticism and height are major strengths as she teams up with Kirby Elliott.
Gisborne will also look for big games from Torie Skrijel, Emerson Lakey, Eloise Rodda and Kiralee Collings.
Bec Smith (captain) GS; Meg Williams (captain) C, WA; Shae Clifford WA, C; Kelsey Meade GA, GS; Heather Oliver GD, GK, WD; Paige Ryan WA, C, WD; Kelsey Pallpratt WA, C; Charlotte Sexton GK, GD; Imogen Sexton GK, GD, WD; Sophie Shoebridge WD, GD, GK; Ruby Turner GD, GK, WD.
Coach: Tamara Gilchrist.
Kirby Elliott (captain), Claudia Mawson (captain), Kiralee Collings, Rylee Connell, Zoe Davies, Charlee Kemp, Emerson Lakey, Tazma Morris, Tiana Newman, Eloise Rodda, Olivia Rodda, Torie Skrijel.
Coach: Tarryn Rymer.
In A-reserve it’s another showdown between Sandhurst and Gisborne from 1.30pm.
Both teams have had exceptional seasons.
They first met in round seven at Gisborne where the Tarryn Rymer-coached Bulldogs won 51-46.
Scores were 50-all at the end of the round 16 clash at the QEO.
The Tamara Gilchrist-coached Sandhurst began its finals campaign with a 50-27 victory in the qualifying final against Kangaroo Flat.
A week later and the maroon and blue fired up for a 44-33 result in the second semi against Gisborne.
The Bulldogs bounced back for to beat Kangaroo Flat, 48-37 in the preliminary final.
A key player for Sandhurst is Kelsey Ralph who earned the Jenni Holborn Medal as the league’s fairest and best player for her skill at goal attack or goalshooter.
Other players to watch for the Dragons include Erica Dalrymple-Monro, Katie Dean, Gab Greene and Lilly Walsh.
The play of Emily McDonald, Jemma Denman, Bridget Salter, Dasha Taylor and Bianca McKay may have a big say in Gisborne’s chances of claiming the cup.
Erica Dalrymple-Monro WA, C; Katie Dean WA, GD, GK; Reese Gilchrist GA, WA; Gab Greene GS, GA; Tess Keating WD, GD; Eliza Oxley GS; Kelsey Pallpratt C, WA, WD; Kelsey Ralph GA, GS; Paige Ryan WA, C, WD; Charlotte Sexton GK, GD; Lilly Walsh GK, GD; Darcey Williams WA, C, WD.
Coach: Tamara Gilchrist.
Rylee Connell, Bella Connors, Jemma Denman, Emily McDonald, Bianca McKay, Tazma Morris, Eloise Rodda, Olivia Rodda, Alex Russ, Bridget Salter, Milly Shaw, Dasha Taylor.
Coach: Tarryn Rymer.
Gisborne and Sandhurst will contest the B-grade match from 12pm.
In round seven the ‘Hurst won 53-38 on Gisborne’s court.
Next time they met was a 54-all result at the QEO.
The Bronwyn Slater-coached Gisborne scored a 55-41 win against Kangaroo Flat in the qualifying final and then marked a 48-46 win against Sandhurst in the second semi.
Sandhurst stayed in the premiership race by beating Kangaroo Flat in the preliminary final by five goals.
Several of Gisborne’s team played in last season’s 17-and-under premiership.
Among those chasing back-to-back premierships are Monty Paton, Milly Shaw and Lulu Slater.
Gisborne also has the experience of Tarryn Rymer in mid-court, plus the hard-working Shelley Farrugia and Hannah Weier.
The Jarileey Schultz-coached Sandhurst has the experience and leadership of Briona Giddings and Erica Dalrymple-Monro.
In mid-court there’s the pacy Lucy Sherriff and Lily Trimby, while the Dragons have Eliza Oxley and Tarryn Knights to play crucial roles in the circle.
Shelley Farrugia, Chelsea Kennett, Georgia Murray, Monty Paton, Taylah Raneiri, Tarryn Rymer, Milly Shaw, Lulu Slater, Hannah Weier.
Coach: Bronwyn Slater.
Briona Giddings (captain), Erica Dalrymple-Monro (vice-captain), Aimee Dean, Tahlia Isaac, Maggie Keating, Tarryn Knights, Eliza Oxley, Lucy Sherriff, Lily Trimby, Elli Williams.
Coach: Jarileey Schultz.
The other club to feature in the netball play-offs is Kangaroo Flat.
The Kate Newman-coached Kangaroos will take on Sandhurst in the B-reserve match at 10.30am.
In round one, Sandhurst scored a nine-goal win against the Roos on the QEO court.
Kangaroo Flat bounced back for a 45-40 victory against the maroon and blue in the 10th round at Dower Park.
The Roos won the qualifying final against Gisborne by 14 goals.
It was a two-goal thriller as Sandhurst netted a 45-43 win against the Roos in the second semi.
A 42-32 win against Gisborne in the preliminary final kept Kangaroo Flat in the hunt for the premiership cup.
Saturday’s contest features Sandhurst goalshooter Isabelle Whiteley and Kangaroo Flat’s Ashlye Faulkner who were joint winners of the league’s fairest and best award.
Key players for Sandhurst include co-captain Ruby Walsh in defence or mid-court; the speedy Teresa Fitzpatrick, skilful Brianna Fletcher, and Sophie Giles.
Players to watch for the Kangaroos include co-captains Shae Cairns and Sophie Nicholson, goaler Claudia Shelton, goalkeeper Lydia Lowndes, and Gemma Roberts in mid-court.
Isabella Whiteley (captain), Ruby Walsh (captain), Bec Dine, Lucia Dyer, Teresa Fitzpatrick, Brianna Fletcher, Sophie Giles, Kelsey Hamilton, Chloe Hann, Matilda Lockyer, Ava Perez, Polly Robertson.
Coach: Rose Gallagher.
Shae Cairns (captain), Sophie Nicholson (captain), Lily Dickson, Madeline Dowling, Ashlye Faulkner, Lydia Lowndes, Macey O’Shea, Gemma Roberts, Alex Rusbridge, Claudia Shelton, Hayley Smith.
Coach: Kate Newman.
Grand final action starts at 9am with the 17-and-under match between Sandhurst and Gisborne.
Record in this season’s meetings stands at two-one in favour of the Carol Cathcart-coached Sandhurst.
In round seven, Gisborne won 49-43 at home.
The Dragons fired up to win a high-scoring round 16 clash, 55-44 at the QEO.
Gisborne’s 13-goal win against Golden Square in the qualifying final was followed by a 46-43 defeat in the second semi against Sandhurst.
The Rylee Connell-coached Gisborne hit back for a 46-37 victory against Golden Square in the preliminary final.
A talented Sandhurst line-up includes Neve Pinner who was runner-up for the Carol Sing Medal as league fairest and best.
The anticipation of captain Reese Gilchrist is a major strength of her game.
Sandhurst also has Maya Dignan and Harriett Whiteacre in defence, the versatile Claire McGee, and Jaida Raco in the centre.
The rising stars from Gisborne have Bella Connors to cap off attacking moves, the dynamic Dasha Taylor in mid-court, skilful Jessie Connors, Charlotte Taylor in defence, and the versatile Charlotte Davies.
Reese Gilchrist (captain), Maya Dignan (vice-captain), Isabelle Brennan, Charlie Coghill, Lila Kelly, Diana Napoleon, Claire McGee, Neve Pinner, Jaida Raco, Harriet Whiteacre.
Coach: Carol Cathcart.
Charlie Busby, Bella Connors, Jessie Connors, Charlotte Davies, Olivia Fenn, Emma Joyce, Sapphy McCarthy, Charlotte Taylor, Dasha Taylor, Ruby Taylor.
Coach: Rylee Connell.