Old foes bat­tle for A grade crown

Warragul & Drouin Gazette - - GRAND FINAL LIFT OUT - by Yvonne Porter

The A grade grand fi­nal be­tween Ellinbank and Poowong on Satur­day is sure to be played at a fast and fu­ri­ous pace.

Both teams rel­ish quick ball move­ment up and down the court.

Ellinbank will go in favourites to the game at Western Park af­ter a dominant year, how­ever, Poowong know how to play fi­nals.

Hav­ing fought their way through the pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal, Poowong will have their tails up and con­fi­dence high go­ing into the game.

It will be a great de­fen­sive game of netball, with both teams able to turnover ball and score quickly.

In goal shooter for Ellinbank is Sha­nara Not­man who plays a dif­fer­ent brand of netball and can be un­pre­dictable. Poowong’s goal keeper Kate­lyn Miller will be up for the chal­lenge and re­ally make Not­man work for her po­si­tion­ing in the cir­cle.

Goal de­fence Ni­cole Vam­plew will work with Miller to con­fuse the space and the en­try for Ellinbank goal at­tack Ebony Bott. Bott has put in a lot of work on her mid-range shot to be­come even more of a threat in the cir­cle. Vam­plew is best known for her abil­ity to hunt the at­tack­ing con­nec­tions and will look to cause havoc up the court.

Ellinbank wing at­tack Lau­ren Sheehan is the quiet achiever of the at­tack end, go­ing about her role on court with­out fuss. Sheehan has great change of di­rec­tion and pre­lims, which en­ables her to ac­cess the cir­cle edge eas­ily. Poowong wing de­fence Mieke Pol­man-Short will be a great match-up for Sheehan, hav­ing come off a stand out pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal per­for­mance. For those who wish to watch two netball minds tough it out in the big­gest match of the year, this is a must see.

Our two cen­tres couldn’t be more dif­fer­ent. Ellinbank’s Jas­mine Ferguson and Poowong’s Ge­or­gia Chi­avaroli play their po­si­tion very dif­fer­ently but are equally as ef­fec­tive. Ferguson is strong and goes hard at the ball. Her abil­ity to drive long into the pock­ets and take a high ball is a sight to see. Chi­avaroli is tran­si­tion­ing from goals and uses her un­der­stand­ing of space in the cir­cle to po­si­tion and feed ef­fi­ciently.

Bre­anna Pratt is likely to line up at wing de­fence for Ellinbank against young gun Dal­las Loughridge from Poowong. Pratt is a silent as­sas­sin on court, us­ing her in­cred­i­ble clos­ing speed to get a lot of tips and in­ter­cepts dur­ing a match. Loughridge’s strength is her abil­ity to fill space around her coach Ka­rina Proc­tor. Loughridge typ­i­cally sets up be­low Proc­tor on court and this will keep Pratt out of con­test­ing in the cen­tre third.

Poowong coach Ka­rina Proc­tor will run out the game at goal at­tack. Proc­tor does a power of work up the court, keeping a one-on-one in the cir­cle un­til she en­ters and sweeps the front space with great effect. Against her will be Rhi­an­non Haines for Ellinbank who has the tank to run with Proc­tor and the ath­leti­cism to dic­tate en­try. This match up will be one to watch as they go toe to toe for the full 60 min­utes.

In goal keeper for Ellinbank will be Sam Hodge. The de­fen­sive com­bi­na­tion of Hodge and Haines will chal­lenge Poowong. Hodge will look to con­test any­thing high to the pock­ets and once she gets the feel of the game, will come out hunt­ing. Poowong will need to use cre­ative ball move­ment and baulks to open up goal shooter Emma Main. Main has a great hold and cre­ates clear space for Proc­tor, with great strength on the re­bound.

Whilst Ellinbank is un­likely to go to their bench, Poowong has a few op­tions in Abbey McNally and Melissa Bev­eridge.

Ellinbank’s abil­ity to con­tin­u­ally shoot goals and ap­ply score board pres­sure will make it dif­fi­cult for Poowong. But if any­one is up to play­ing a grand fi­nal against the Ea­gles, it is the Magpies.

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