Tonny to fight Cats for flag

The Riverine Herald - - GAME ON - By Jess Gled­hill

MNL PRELIMINARY FI­NAL B GRADE TON­GALA 12, 14, 9, 15 (50) def ECHUCA UNITED 9, 8, 10, 4 (31)

THE MUR­RAY Netball League B grade grand fi­nal has been fi­nalised with Ton­gala and Fin­ley set to play off for the 2017 flag.

Ton­gala’s B grade side made it through af­ter de­feat­ing Echuca United by 19 goals in the preliminary fi­nal at Co­bram on Sat­ur­day.

It ended the Ea­gles last re­main­ing hope of hav­ing a se­nior team in this year’s grand fi­nal with C grade and C re­serve both los­ing ear­lier that day.

Thw Blues’ ac­cu­racy in shoot­ing and pass­ing down the court en­abled them to take con­trol of the game which they then main­tained for four quar­ters.

Goalers Abby Pet­tifer and Stacey McGill com­bined beau­ti­fully and shot well with McGill’s drive along the base­line be­ing an easy op­tion un­der the post.

Ash­lee Wat­son cre­ated sev- eral op­por­tu­ni­ties for the at­tack­end as she con­tin­u­ally turned the ball over at goal keeper, read­ing the play bril­liantly and in­ter­cept­ing strongly.

It saw Ton­gala take a three­goal lead at quar­ter time.

Echuca United’s Hol­lie David­son came on at wing de­fence as Tina Rank­ins moved to goal keeper to try and shut down Pet­tifer.

Rank­ins pro­vided a steady head and plenty of lead­er­ship on the court, how­ever the Ea­gles strug­gled to cap­i­talise in their at­tack-end.

The Blues were more ef­fi­cient in their ball use and con­tin­ued their run as they built the mar­gin to six goals by half time, lead­ing 26 to 17.

Their con­sis­tency and pres­sure in de­fence saw them go into the fi­nal break with an eight-goal lead. United’s Chloe McDer­maid worked tire­lessly in cen­tre and was a good match up against Ton­gala’s Paige Wade as the two bat­tled hard through­out the game.

The Ea­gles looked to run out of legs in the fi­nal quar­ter and couldn’t find the de­sire to win.

They were outscored 15 goals to four in the fourth quar­ter to end 31-50 and fall short of mak­ing the week­end’s grand fi­nal.

Sat­ur­day’s win made up for the 2015 grand fi­nal heart break when the Blues were pipped by seven goals to the Ea­gles.

Ton­gala has matched up well against Fin­ley manag­ing to come out on top on two oc­ca­sions in close games through­out the sea­son.

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