HDFNL Netball Grand Final preview | Demons, Grasshoppers renew grand rivalry


ANOTHER chapter in a great netball rivalry between White Hills and Colbinabbin will unfold on Bendigo Bank Heathcote DFNL grand final day this Saturday at Huntly.

The Demons and Grasshoppers will fight for the A-grade premiership cup from 2.30pm at Huntly’s Strauch Reserve.

It was a regular showdown across the past four years of the previous decade.

Colbinabbin beat White Hills to be A-grade premier in 2016 and ’17, and the result was reversed as the Lauren Bowles-coached Demons were number one in 2018 and ’19 against the green and gold.

This season’s finals action began with the qualifying final clash between White Hills and Colbinabbin at Pigeon Park in Heathcote’s Barrack Reserve.

The Demons fired up for a 64-48 victory and then broke Elmore’s unbeaten streak as they took out the second semi, 57-53.

Colbinabbin stayed in the finals race when it scored a 68-39 win against Mount Pleasant in the first semi.

The Grasshoppers’ goaling accuracy and full-court pressure played a huge part as it upset Elmore in last Saturday’s preliminary final.

Ella Kerlin starred in attack and earned best on court honours in a 71-62 victory for the Grasshoppers.

Colbo’s attack is led by Kerlin and 16-year-old Matilda McIntyre.

A talented line-up for Colbinabbin includes captain and centre Olivia McEvoy.

Another brilliant season earned a third Esther Cheatley Medal as the league’s fairest and best.

McEvoy will be determined to add a premiership medal to cap her return to the court.

Other key players for Colbinabbin include goalkeeper Elle Palmer, Ash Zera and Tanzin Myers in mid-court.

White Hills captain Molly Johnston is one of the league’s best defenders where her closing speed and agility are great strengths.

The Demons also have the experienced Danni Wee Hee and Lauren Bowles teaming up in mid-court.

Whether she’s in attack or defence, Karley Hynes has the height and leap to trouble all opponents.

The red and black will look to Alyssa Cole and Olivia Treloar in attack.

Tegan Elliston provides plenty of versatility for White Hills through defence or in mid-court.

White Hills:

Molly Johnston (captain), GD, GK; Danielle Wee Hee (vice-captain) WA, C, WD; Olivia Treloar GS; Alyssa Cole GA; Tegan Elliston WD, GD, C; Lauren Bowles (coach) C, WD; Amy Morrissey GK, GD; Bridget Murray WA, C, WD; Karley Hynes GS, GA, GD, GK.


Annie Hughes GS, GA, Ella Kerlin GA, GS; Olivia McEvoy C; Grace McIntyre WA, WD, C, GA, Matilda Mclntyre GA, GS; Tanzin Myers WD, GD; Dominique Palmer GS, GA; Elle Palmer GK, Emily Percy GD, GK; Mardie Ryan GA, WA; Ella Turnbull WD, GD, GK; Ash Zera WA, C.

It’s a big day for White Hills which has four teams in action.

Among them is the Melissa Dillon-coached A-reserve line-up to take on Elmore from 1pm.

When these teams met in the second semi-final it was White Hills which claimed a 36-26 victory against an opponent which led the ladder at the end of the home-and-away series.

White Hills began its finals campaign by scoring a 39-27 win against North Bendigo in the qualifying final.

Stung by the second semi defeat, Elmore hit back for a 49-34 win against North Bendigo in the preliminary final.

Players to watch for White Hills include captain Emily Gloury in defence, Sarah Nash in mid-court, Shannyn Keelly at goal attack, and Claire and Eloise Gibbs.

An Elmore team that has co-coaches Abbey Hay and Lauren McKee will be determined to start well.

Key players for the red and white are captain Stephanie Donnellon, Ashleigh Ripper in defence, and Abbey McLean in attack.

The Bloods also have the pace, agility and versatility of Andrea Wilson able to take on any role on court.

White Hills:

Emily Gloury (captain) GD, GK; Rhiana Broadbent WD, GK; Claire Gibbs GS; Eloise Gibbs GA, GS; Shannyn Keely GS, GA; Sarah Nash C, WD, WA; Georgia Nelson WA, GA, C; Holly O’Brien C, WD, WA; Katelyn Parry GK, GD; Zoe Sheean WA, C; Brit Fitzpatrick (injured). Coach: Melissa Dillon.


Stephanie Donnellon (captain) C, WA, GA; Isabel Butler GD; Tyanah Case WA, GA; Lauren Dawes GD; Abbey Hay (co-coach) C, WA, WD; Hollie Hildebrandt WA, WD; Emily Jones WA, GA; Lauren McKee (co-coach) GA, GD; Abbey McLean GA, GS; Sophie McLean GD; Ashleigh Ripper GK; Tammy Russell GS, GA; Andrea Wilson WA, WD, GA, GD.

In B-grade it will be White Hills against Elmore from 10am.

The Demons won a hard-fought second semi against the Bloods by five goals.

Elmore started its finals campaign with a 41-36 win against Huntly in the qualifying final.

They met again last Saturday where the Hayley Langdon and Elly Hayes-coached Elmore scored  a 52-50 victory in the preliminary final on the Hawks’ court.

Tynanah Case was best on court for Elmore.

Key players for the Molly Johnston-coached White Hills include goalshooter Bronte Bowles, playmaker Zoe Sheean, Laine Pugh and Ally Todd in defence, and captain Rindy Sawyer in the centre.

Elmore will look for big games from the likes of co-captains Madison Cliff and Lauren McKee, goalkeeper Lauren Holmberg, Lauren Dawes at wing defence, and Elly Hayes as goalshooter.

White Hills:

Rindy Sawyer (captain) C, GD; Zoe Sheehan (vice-captain) WA, C; Bronte Bowles GS; Bec Dewhirst GS, GA; Ellena Findlay WD, WA; Caitlin McQueen GA, GS; Tannisha Murley GA, WA; Laine Pugh GK, GD; Ally Todd WD, GD; Grace Westwood WD, C. Coach: Molly Johnston.


Lauren McKee (co-captain) C; Tyanah Case WA; Remy Cowan C; Madison Cliff (co-captain) GD; Lauren Dawes WD; Millie Haines GS; Elly Hayes GS; Lauren Holmberg GK; Emily Jones GA; Jane Reid GD, GK; Philippa Renshaw WD, WA; Georgia Southern WD. Coaches: Hayley Langdon and Elly Hayes.

The B-reserve grand final features White Hills against Huntly from 11.30am.

The Harlowe Huntly Hawks earned another showdown with the Demons by winning the preliminary final against North Bendigo by 23 goals.

After a 47-44 loss to White Hills in the second semi, Huntly struck back to beat the Bulldogs last Saturday as Melissa Matthews starred for the brown and gold.

Huge plus for White Hills is the experience and skill of captain Kylie Lamb in attack or mid-court.

A young line-up in the red and black includes goalshooter Cooper Houston, Zoe McLean in the centre, and Eliza O’Brien in defence.

The Hawks will look to the leadership of Maddy Townsend and Holly Guerra, and reliable goalshooter Nikita Matthews.

Other players to watch are Jorja Egan in court, goalkeeper Brooke Engi, and Lexi Thomas in attack.

White Hills:

Kylie Lamb (captain) GA, GS, WA; Asha Coulson WA, WD; Rebecca Dewhirst WA, GA, GS; Reece Geddes WD, GD, GK; Maddi Hart GK, GD, WD; Cooper Houston GS; Kealie Lambert WD, GD, GK; Zoe McLean C, GA; Zoe Moroni GK, GD; Eliza O’Brien GD, GK, C. Coach: Molly Johnston.


Maddy Townsend (captain) C, WA, WD; Holly Guerra (vice-captain) C; Laura Bawden GD, GA; Simone Corboy WA, WD, GA, GD; Kiara Cowling WA, WD; Emarnee Davies WA, GA; Jorja Egan WA; Brooke Engi GK; Madi Lawrence WD; Melissa Matthews GA, GD; Nikita Matthews GS; Lexi Thomas GA. Coaches: Kylie Webster, Taylor Mann.

First-up on court one on Saturday will be the 17-and-under teams from Colbinabbin and Mount Pleasant.

The showdown between the Grasshoppers and Blues starts at 8.45am.

Colbinabbin’s run to the grand final began with a seven-goal win against Heathcote in the qualifying final.

A week later and the Shannon Hill-coached green and gold beat Lockington Bamawm United in the second semi by six goals.

Mount Pleasant has faced a must-win scenario the past three weekends.

The Blues won the elimination final against Huntly, beat Heathcote in the first semi, and then scored a 56-50 victory against LBU in the preliminary final.

A fourth consecutive for the Teagan Byrne-coached Blues will clinch the premiership.

Fairest and best in the competition this season, Grace McIntyre is a star in mid-court for Colbinabbin.

Other key players for the Grasshoppers include captain Lucy Tibbs in mid-court, Sadie Martin and Maisy Pinniger in defence, and goalshooter Megan Pearce.

Players to watch for Mount Pleasant include co-captains Emily McCooke and Madalyn Nihill, Bree Tuohey, Georgie Butler, and goalshooter Claire Dunstan.


Lucy Tibbs (captain) WA, C; Georgia Acocks C, WA, WD; Zahra Ali WA; Brigid Connelly GK, GD, WD; Mikayla Cornish GA, GS, WA; Harriet East WA, GS; Sadie Martin GD, GK; Grace McIntyre C, GA; Jasmin Moroney WD, WA; Megan Pearce GS, GA; Maisy Pinniger GK, GD. Coach: Shannon Hill.

Mount Pleasant:

Madalyn Nihill (captain), Emily McCooke (captain), Imogen Ash, Georgie Butler, Claire Dunstan, Juliet Hogan, Ruby Loverso, Shae Osborn, Bree Tuohey, Ella Wilkinson, Lucy Wilkinson, Piper Wright. Coach: Teagan Byrne.

The 15-and-under grand final at 10am on court two features Mount Pleasant and Huntly.

A 37-36 victory against Elmore in the second semi put the Carly Hickson-coached Mount Pleasant into the grand final.

Newcomers to the Blues this season in Rehmi Burke, Hannah Guo, Rhylie Jones and Ruby Loverso have played key roles in the Blues’ run.

Mount Pleasant also has Tarli Nihill who was runner-up in the league fairest and best award, and strong defender Lucy Wilkinson.

After a 35-52 loss to Elmore in the qualifying final the Lisa Clohesy-coached Huntly struck back to beat Colbinabbin in the first semi, and then Elmore in the preliminary final.

Key players for Huntly include captain Bella Clohesy, goalshooter Emmy Schmidt, Jayda Alford, Madi Gill, and vice-captain Georgia Moulday.

Mount Pleasant:

Ruby Loverso (captain) C, WA; Lucy Wilkinson (captain) GK, GD; Rehmi Burke C, WA, WD; Hannah Guo WA, WD; Juliet Hogan C, WA, WD; Rhylie Jones GA; Bella Lalor GS; Tarli Nihill C, WA; Lexie Walsh GD. Coach: Carly Hickson.


Bella Clohesy (captain) C, WA, WD; Georgia Moulday (vice-captain) GS, GA; Jayda Alford GD; Maleah Alford GD; Jorja Bell C; Ella Ferguson GA, GS, GD, GK; Madi Gill GK, GD; Lily McKee WA, GS; Ruby Morrish WD; Emmy Schmidt GS; Mackenzie Trotter GK, GD. Coach: Lisa Clohesy.

A big day of netball action starts at 8.45am and features Lockington Bamawm United against Leitchville Gunbower in the 13-and-under match on court two.

The rising stars for the Cats and Bombers will be keen to play well.

It was a 34-13 win for the Meg Howlett-coached LBU against Heathcote in the second semi.

Leitchville Gunbower hit back from a 23-12 loss to Heathcote in the qualifying final to beat Colbinabbin in the first semi by a goal.

The Karlee Gilmore-coached Leitchville Gunbower scored a six-goal win against Heathcote in the preliminary final.

Both teams have plenty of flexibility.

The mid-court rotation for LBU can include Keeley Major, Evie Riordan, Keira Mitchell, Sophie Jardine and Orlah Potier.

Runner-up for the league fairest and award, Sadie Jones is a key player for Leitchville Gunbower, along with Evie Fletcher, Sophie Gilmore, Lucy Gretgrix and Milla Ryan.

Lockington Bamawm United:

Keira Mitchell (captain) WD, GD, GK; Eden Christian GK, WD, GS; Lily Dunham GS, GA, GD; Ivy Giorgianni GS, GD, GK; Sophie Jardine WA, C, WD; Keeley Major WA, C, GA; Orlah Potier GS, WA, C; Evie Riordan C, WA, WD; Taya Tamblyn GD, GA, GS. Coach: Meg Howlett.

Leitchville Gunbower:

Lucy Gretgrix (captain) GK, GD; Sophie Gilmore (captain) GS, GA; Evie Fletcher GK, GD; Sadie Jones C, WA, WD; Emily Law GA, GD; Isabel McGillivray, Lilli McGillivray, Zara McGillivray, Milla Ryan WA, WD; Harper Shiels GS, GD; Dotti Simmonds. Coach: Karlee Gilmore.