Stan­hope learns les­son that fade­out could kill flag hopes

Shepparton News - - SPORT - By Lauren Bordin

Win­ning form is good form and Stan­hope is in the box seat to progress past the first round of Kyabram District Net­ball League fi­nals.

The Li­ons lost just one match in the last 13 reg­u­lar sea­son rounds, cap­ping the reg­u­lar sea­son with a three-goal up­set of Tal­ly­ga­roopna.

Stan­hope coach Ker­rie Gray said her side would have to en­sure there is no fi­nal-quar­ter fade­out like what oc­curred last Satur­day.

‘‘It was a good match, we had a tight con­test and they (the play­ers) cer­tainly learned a les­son, we came out fir­ing and built a good lead,’’ she said.

‘‘It was a good les­son to learn last week be­cause it might not be some­thing we get away with this week.’’

The Li­ons face MurchisonToolamba at Avenel on Sun­day as the Grasshop­pers come off a more shaky en­try into Septem­ber.

En­ter­ing the fi­nals af­ter just miss­ing last year, Alice Cun­ning­ham has eyes on go­ing fur­ther. The pair have seen each other twice this year and Stan­hope has taken the choco­lates in both games, although not by con­vinc­ing mar­gins.

Gray said Sun­day would again be an­other tight tus­sle.

‘‘They’ll be re­ally tough on Sun­day, they’ve got an even play­ing side and they’re sim­i­lar to us in that their net­ball has im­proved as the sea­son has gone on, so we’re go­ing to have to win all the po­si­tions,’’ she said.

But should Stan­hope con­tinue its form, a match-up against the win­ner of Tal­ly­ga­roopna and Un­dera awaits.

‘‘We’ve kind of had to play some re­ally good net­ball to win and to ac­tu­ally make the fi­nals be­cause of the draw, as a unit we’ve all stood up to­gether and hope on Sun­day that’ll be sim­i­lar,’’ Gray said.

The Redlegs may be com­ing off a loss, but still be­gin favourites in a match-up with Un­dera.

As the last team to qual­ify for the fi­nals, a strong open­ing to the sea­son gave the Li­ons the push to fin­ish in the top six.

Hav­ing spent a long time ab­sent from the fi­nals, Un­dera sup­port­ers will be out in full force to help their side over the line against a com­pe­ti­tion pow­er­house.

Old foes Nagam­bie and Avenel will clash for a place in the grand fi­nal in a week’s time.

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