BY NATHAN DOLE
SWAN Hill faces a red-hot Mallee Eagles team in Saturday’s A-grade netball preliminary final in the Central Murray FNL action at Tooleybuc.
The Swans and Eagles will be vying to earn a grand final showdown with Lake Boga in the clash from 2.40pm.
After finishing the home-and-away series in second place on a 14-2 record, Swan Hill won the qualifying final against Woorinen by 11 goals.
Now the Swans are on the rebound from a one-goal loss to Lake Boga in the second semi-final.
It’s been a brilliant run by Mallee in this finals series.
The Eagles were fifth at the end of the home-and-away series on a 10-6 record.
Since then Mallee has defeated Balranald in the elimination by seven goals, and then soared to a 59-53 victory in the first semi against Woorinen.
This season’s meetings between Swan Hill and Mallee Eagles stand at two-nil in favour of the Swans.
In round three, Swan Hill won 52-39 at Lalbert.
The Swans marked a 59-52 victory against the Eagles at Swan Hill’s Alan Garden Reserve in the 14th round.
It’s Lake Boga against Balranald in the A-reserve preliminary final from 1.15pm.
The Magpies from Lake Boga achieved a 13-3 record to be second at the end of the home-and-away series.
An 8-7 tally had Balranald in fifth place.
Lake Boga started its finals campaign by winning the qualifying final against Woorinen by 25 goals.
The next day Balranald put Swan Hill out of the premiership race as it scored a 48-44 victory.
In last weekend’s Play, Lake Boga went down to Mallee Eagles in the second semi by three goals.
Balranald’s streak kept rolling in a 46-35 result against Woorinen in the first semi-final.
The Magpies beat the Kangaroos by margins of eight and six goals when they met in rounds five and 16.
After meeting in a qualifying final two weeks ago, Nyah Nyah West United and Koondrook Barham will clash in the B-grade preliminary final from 11.50am.
A 12-4 record meant the NNWU Demons were second after the 18th round of the home-and-away series.
Koondrook Barham was third on an 11-5 record.
The Demons beat the River Raiders by three goals in the qualifying final, but have to rebound from a five-goal loss to Woorinen in the second semi.
The KB team scored a 35-31 victory against Swan Hill in the first semi-final.
It was one-all between these teams in the run to the finals series.
Koondrook Barham won 39-33 at Nyah in round one, and the Demons fired up for a 43-35 victory at Barham in the 13th round.
The Swans and Blues feature in the B-reserve preliminary final as Swan Hill takes on Kerang from 1.15pm.
Swan Hill was 14-2 in the home-and-away series and won the qualifying final against Balranald by 12 goals.
A closely-fought second semi-final between Koondrook Barham and Swan Hill went the way of the River Raiders, 45-43.
Kerang is another team which has fought from an elimination final.
The Blues had a 10-6 record in the home-and-away series, but have played brilliantly in the past two weeks.
Kerang won the elimination final against Cohuna by four goals, and then beat Balranald by 14 goals last Sunday.
Only meeting between the Swans and Blues in the regular season was the 11th round where Swan Hill won 35-7 at Kerang’s Riverside Park.
Stung by a three-goal loss to Cohuna in the second semi which broke its unbeaten run, Tyntynder will aim to bounce back against Mallee Eagles in the 18-and-under preliminary final.
The Bulldogs and Eagles will clash from 10.25am.
Mallee started its finals campaign with a 45-49 loss to Cohuna in the qualifying final.
The Eagles fought back to win the first semi against Swan Hill by a goal.
Tyntynder scored a 27-goal victory against the Eagles at Lalbert in the eighth round.
The 16-and-under preliminary final features Kerang and Cohuna from 9am.
The Blues from Kerang were second on a 14-2 record at the end of the home-and-away series.
Although it had a 10-6 record and was fifth, Cohuna has won both of its finals matches.
Kerang won the qualifying final against Tooleybuc Manangatang by a goal, but went down to Woorinen in the second semi by eight goals.
The Kangas have bounced their way to a preliminary final by beating Lake Boga in the elimination final by 21 goals, and then outpointed Tooleybuc Manangatang in the first semi to record a 48-34 victory.
In round four, Kerang won its home game against Cohuna by 19 goals.
Next showdown was in the 15th round where Kerang fought for a 54-43 victory.
The league’s youngest players will take to the court from 10.20am when Mallee Eagles play Lake Boga in the 14-and-under preliminary final.
A 15-1 record meant Mallee ended the home-and-away series in first place, while Lake Boga was second on 13-3 tally.
The Eagles will be aiming to strike back from a 29-33 loss to Tyntynder in the second semi-final.
Lake Boga was beaten in the qualifying final clash with Tyntynder by seven goals, but hit back for a 30-13 win in the first semi against Woorinen.
In the run to the finals, Mallee beat Lake Boga by 11 goals in round one at Lalbert, and by 10 goals in the 13th round in the Magpies’ nest.