BY NATHAN DOLE
THERE will be plenty of emotion for netball players, coaches and fans in the Bendigo Bank Loddon Valley FNL’s preliminary finals on Saturday.
As seven teams advance to the September 9 grand finals it will be season over for the other seven after their hit-outs at Calivil Recreation Reserve.
In A-grade it’s Mitiamo against Marong from 3pm.
Runner-up last season, Mitiamo will be desperate to gain another shot at Maiden Gully YCW Eagles for premiership glory at Inglewood’s Dissy Machinery Oval.
To do so the Jen Wilson-coached Mitiamo must beat Marong.
This season’s three meetings between the clubs have gone the way of the Superoos.
In round nine, Mitiamo marked a 62-53 victory on its court at John Forbes Oval.
The Superoos and Panthers then met in consecutive weeks.
In round 18, Mitiamo won 77-48 on Marong’s court at East West Oval in Malone Park.
A week later and stakes were higher in a qualifying final at Bridgewater.
The Superoos reigned supreme, 57-45.
In last weekend’s action, Mitiamo forced the second semi against Maiden Gully YCW into overtime.
The Eagles won a thrilling contest, 62-59.
The next day the Sue Borserio-coached Marong stayed in the premiership race as it scored a 57-42 victory in the first semi-final against Pyramid Hill.
Despite being on Pyramid Hill’s court at Mitchell Park, Marong was able to control a lot of the play.
The B-grade preliminary final features Maiden Gully YCW against Bridgewater from 1.30pm.
The Eagles have won both previous clashes with the Mean Machine.
In round two it was the Eagles who claimed a 44-38 win at Bridgewater.
The Eagles then soared to a 57-40 victory against the red and white in the 11th round at Marist College Bendigo in Maiden Gully.
After a 44-31 win against Pyramid Hill in the qualifying final, Maiden Gully YCW took on Marong in the second semi-final.
The Panthers clawed their way to a 43-42 victory.
Bridgewater’s run began in the elimination final where it beat Newbridge, 50-42.
The Mean Machine marked a 46-34 victory last Sunday to end Pyramid Hill’s season.
Marong awaits to meet the winner in the grand final.
In C-grade it will be Marong or Pyramid Hill who advance to a grand final clash with Maiden Gully YCW.
The Panthers and Bulldogs match on Saturday starts at 3pm.
In round four, Marong won 61-41 at home.
Scores were 31-all at the end of the 13th round match at Pyramid Hill’s Mitchell Park.
Latest showdown between these teams was the qualifying final which went Marong’s way, 42-40.
In last weekend’s play, Marong was beaten by Maiden Gully YCW in the second semi by 18 goals.
Next day it was Pyramid Hill which fought for a 43-40 victory against Newbridge in the first semi.
The C-reserve preliminary final between Maiden Gully YCW and Newbridge starts at 1.30pm.
The Eagles will start favourite following a 43-32 win at home against the Maroons in the sixth round, and a 44-42 victory at Beck Legal Oval in Newbridge’s Riverside Park in the 15th round.
Maiden Gully YCW marked a 31-27 win against Bears-Lagoon Serpentine in the qualifying final.
Newbridge eliminated Bridgewater after a 37-26 result on day two of the finals series.
Last Saturday it was Marong first to the grand final after a 50-22 victory against the Eagles in the second semi.
Newbridge won a closely-fought first semi with Bears-Lagoon Serpentine, 53-47.
The 17-under preliminary final between Marong and Bears-Lagoon Serpentine starts at noon.
It’s one-all in this season’s meetings.
The Bears won 48-41 at Marong in round six and it was a 38-37 victory for the Panthers at Gadsden Finance Serpentine Reserve in the 15th round.
Marong finished the home-and-away series on top of the ladder, but went down 40-52 in last Saturday’s second semi-final clash with Bridgewater.
The Bears were also beaten by Bridgewater in the qualifying final, 58-56, but hit back for a 55-32 victory against Maiden Gully YCW in the first semi.
Bridgewater will wait to face the Panthers or Bears in the season decider.
Preliminary final will begin with the 15-under match between Bridgewater and Maiden Gully YCW at 10.30am.
The winner takes on Calivil United in the grand final.
Bridgewater has beaten the Eagles in both matches they have played.
In round two, Bridgewater won 27-15 at home.
A high-scoring match in the 11th round at Maiden Gully ended in a 34-28 win for the Mean Machine.
Bridgewater won its qualifying final against Inglewood by four goals, but went down 38-43 in the second semi-final clash with Calivil United.
The Eagles have progressed from a 47-30 win against Bears-Lagoon Serpentine in the elimination final, and 40-21 victory in the first semi against Inglewood.
It will be Bridgewater against Maiden Gully YCW in the 13-under preliminary final at noon.
Defences were on top as Bridgewater won 8-7 in the second round.
The Eagles soared to a 29-22 victory in the 11th round at Maiden Gully.
In the qualifying final, Bridgewater beat the Eagles, 35-27.
The Mean Machine is on the rebound from a 49-23 loss to Calivil United in the second semi.
Last Sunday, Maiden Gully YCW scored a 23-13 victory in the first semi-final to put Inglewood out of the premiership race.