KANGAROO Flat will be striving to deny Sandhurst an A-grade netball premiership hat-trick in the Bendigo Bank Bendigo Football Netball League’s grand final on Saturday.
The Roos mark a return to the season decider for the first time since it won in 2016.
A red-hot Sandhurst has a wealth of grand final experience from last September’s triumph against Gisborne, and a year earlier against Golden Square.
The reigning premiers are in familiar territory on the court adjacent to Queen Elizabeth Oval.
This season’s meetings between the Roos and the team in maroon and blue stands at 2-1 in Sandhurst’s favour.
First meeting was in the opening round on the Kangaroos’ court at Bendigo Mazda Oval in Dower Park.
On that occasion, Sandhurst won a great match, 43-38.
In the 10th round, Kangaroo Flat played superb netball for a 50-48 victory at the QEO.
Grand final day marks Kangaroo Flat’s fourth contest of the finals series.
The Roos overran Gisborne in the second half of the qualifying final for a 50-35 result.
It was 23-all at half-time, but the Jayden Cowling-coached Kangaroo Flat won the third term, 15-6, and the last, 12-6.
A week later and Kangaroo Flat took on Sandhurst, which was top of the ladder at the end of the home and away series, in the second semi.
Jointly coached by Tamara Gilchrist and Heather Oliver, as it was last year, Sandhurst began its finals campaign in style.
The ‘Hurst led 9-4 at quarter-time, 17-13 at ½ time, and 26-22 at a quarter to go.
By the final whistle, Sandhurst led 41-27 and was through to another grand final.
Kangaroo Flat bounced back brilliantly in last Saturday’s preliminary final against Eaglehawk.
The Roos led 10-9 at quarter-time and 22-18 at the long break.
Kangaroo Flat won the crucial third term, 13-10, and the last, 15-8, to complete a 50-36 victory.
There will be many important match-ups in the grand final.
Both teams have a lot of pace and skill through the mid-court.
Sandhurst captain Meg Williams looms as a key player in the centre.
The Roos will look for big games from co-captain Chelsea Sartori and Milly Wicks, premiership team-mates in 2016, and also from rising star, Ella Wicks at wing defence.
Rebecca Smith and Heather Oliver are a powerful combination in Sandhurst’s attack.
They will be opposed by Alicia McGlashan and co-captain Ingrid Hopkins.
In what will be her 10th A-grade grand final, McGlashan will be aiming for a seventh premiership.
A strong Sandhurst line-up includes the Dalrymple-Monro twins, Brianna and Erica.
It’s a huge day of netball action for Sandhurst FNC and Kangaroo Flat FNC.
The Dragons and Kangaroos will meet in the A-grade, A-reserve and B-grade contests.
In A-reserve, Sandhurst is aiming to cap an unbeaten run to the premiership.
The ‘Hurst won both showdowns with the Kangaroos in the home and away series by margins of 19 and 12 goals.
In week two of the finals, Sandhurst won the second semi against Gisborne by 15 goals.
Kangaroo Flat bounced back from an eight-goal loss to Gisborne in the qualifying final to defeat Eaglehawk by 12 goals in the first semi.
The Roos met Gisborne in last Saturday’s preliminary final and won, 50-41.
Sandhurst was beaten just once in B-grade’s regular season which was to Kangaroo Flat in the 10th round.
On that day, Flat won 64-50 at the QEO.
In round one, Sandhurst won in the Flat, 39-34.
Last meeting between the grand finalists was in the second semi in which the Roos triumphed, 51-41.
Stung by just its second defeat of the season, Sandhurst won a hard-fought preliminary final against South Bendigo, 37-33, to stay in the title race.
In the 17-under competition, Sandhurst takes on Golden Square.
First meeting between these grand finalists was in round seven where Golden Square won 51-42 on the QEO court.
Sandhurst struck back for a 38-24 win at Fur Life Vet Oval in Golden Square’s Wade Street in the 16th round.
The team in maroon and blue has played two superb finals matches.
Sandhurst won the qualifying final against Golden Square, 43-20, and followed up with a 40-29 win against Gisborne in the second semi.
After a poor start to the finals, Golden Square hit back for a 64-32 result against Eaglehawk in the first semi, and won the preliminary final against Gisborne by a goal.
The blue and gold led 43-42 when the whistle sounded to earn another showdown with Sandhurst for the premiership cup.
First of the netball finals is at 9am when Strathfieldsaye clashes with Eaglehawk.
The Hawks and Storm had identical win-loss tallies of 16-2 in the home and away series, but were first and third on percentage.
Strathfieldsaye began its finals campaign by scoring a 45-39 win against Sandhurst in the qualifying final.
A week later and Storm beat Eaglehawk, 44-33, in the second semi.
The Borough bounced back for a 48-33 victory against Sandhurst in the preliminary final.
Ledger from this season’s meetings between the Hawks and Storm is 2-1 in favour of Strathfieldsaye.
Eaglehawk won at Triple M Park, Strathfieldsaye in round one by seven goals, but Storm struck back for a 33-30 result on the Borough’s court at Canterbury Park in the 10th round.
Schedule for the Bendigo Bank Bendigo Football Netball League’s netball grand finals on Saturday at Queen Elizabeth Oval:
A-grade at 3pm: Sandhurst v Kangaroo Flat.
A-reserve at 1.30pm: Sandhurst v Kangaroo Flat.
17-under at 12pm: Sandhurst v Golden Square.
B-grade at 10.30am: Kangaroo Flat v Sandhurst.
B-reserve at 9am: Strathfieldsaye v Eaglehawk.