Sporting chance of finals glory
THEY are from different codes but these four have one thing in common today.
Lindisfarne footballer Ben van Kraanen, left, Rhys Watts, of Taroona Rugby Club, Diamond Backs hockey player Isabel Goldsmith and North West Grads’ James Bourke will all play in grand finals today.
IT’S finals time for the winter codes with a string of deciders today marking the end of seasons across Hobart.
Men’s and women’s hockey, men’s and women’s Southern Football League and Tasmanian Rugby Union will all hold their grand finals today.
For some it is playing in front of big crowds, for others it is testing yourself against the best or reaping the rewards for a long season — but there is no denying the excitement grand finals bring for all.
At the Hobart Netball and Sports Centre, it will be a finals extravaganza with the Southern Tasmanian Netball Association hosting 16 grand finals from under-11s to under-17s and senior divisions with more than 300 players in action.
At the Tasmanian Hockey Centre at New Town, the DiamondBacks will play in their third straight women’s grand final, but coming off two decider defeats. The match is against reigning premier North West Graduates.
The score is 2-2 between the sides this year, with the DiamondBacks victorious in the previous encounter.
DiamondBacks midfielder Isabel Goldsmith was predicting a tight battle today.
“We’ve been very lucky over the past few years to have lots of success and it is really exciting for the girls to see our work pay off in the season and get to the big dance at the end,” Goldsmith said.
NWG are also in the men’s finale, against fierce rival OHA. The Grads’ record this year against OHA is two wins, a draw and a loss.
NWG centre half James Bourke said they would start slight favourites today.
“It [grand finals] is just the atmosphere — being out on the ground and competing at the highest level in Hobart, knowing you are in the top two teams and battling it out on the day,” Bourke said.
The big boys will clash at Rugby Park, with the Taroona Penguins looking to complete the perfect season in the Tasmanian Rugby Union grand final against the Devonport Bulls.
The Penguins are undefeated for 2017 but captain Rhys Watts does not believe the result is a given.
“I wouldn’t say favourites, there are still two teams out there so I don’t like ‘favourites’ tags or ‘underdogs’ tags,” Watts said. “I’m very nervous up until kick-off, then all the systems are in place for us to do what we do.”
At the spiritual home of Australian rules, it is the SFL and first SFL Women’s grand finals.
The South East Suns will take on the Blues in the SFLW with Lindisfarne and New Norfolk to battle it out in the men’s.
Lindisfarne inflicted New Norfolk’s only defeat of 2017 in the semi-finals and Blues Ben Van Kraanen is expecting a fired-up Eagles outfit out for revenge.
“We will have to play our absolute best,” Van Kraanen said.
“But just to be playing in a grand final in front of bigger crowds at North Hobart Oval is exciting and hopefully top it off with a win with your teammates.”