Two out of three for Coastal Sharks

Canning Times - - SPORT -

COASTAL Sharks won two of the three grand fi­nals they com­peted in at the State Net­ball Cen­tre to com­plete an out­stand­ing sea­son of net­ball.

The Sharks nar­rowly went down to the Perth Lions 52-45 in an en­ter­tain­ing Un­der-18s game to start the Grand Fi­nal pro­ceed­ings.

Toni-Marie Smith was named MVP as the Lions were able to re­sist nu­mer­ous chal­lenges from the Sharks and keep a lead for pretty much the en­tire game.

The League game was played in the mid­dle time slot and was a su­perb show­case of the game, with Coastal Sharks lead­ing all game and hang­ing on to a nar­row 50-47 vic­tory over the Perth Lions in a clas­sic tus­sle.

The Lions man­aged to draw level in a fran­tic third quar­ter but the Sharks stead­ied.

Olivia Lewis was named MVP as she is set to start her ca­reer at the next level.

In the Re­serves game to round out a ter­rific night of net­ball, the Coastal Sharks again de­feated the Perth Lions, this time com­fort­ably with a 61-46 win. AF­TER spend­ing the week af­ter our qual­i­fy­ing fi­nal win over Colling­wood re­cov­er­ing from the hard hitout and just fo­cus­ing on what we need to do, we are now think­ing about the next game.

The Colling­wood game was typ­i­cal of a fi­nal: very phys­i­cal and con­tested as you would ex­pect it to be and the ben­e­fit of win­ning was hav­ing a bit more time to re­cover and re-set.

We rounded out last week with a solid train­ing ses­sion on Fri­day and with Mel­bourne beat­ing Hawthorn last Fri­day night we can now fo­cus on pre­par­ing to play them.

It will be later in the week be­fore we go into too much de­tail about the Dees with the coach­ing staff, but we do know a fair bit about the way they play.

They were here only a month ago and they won a tight game by a cou­ple of goals. We are aware of what they bring and they ob­vi­ously come to Perth in pretty good form.

They have scored a cou­ple of big fi­nals wins al­ready, beat­ing Gee­long and the Hawks, and we have a healthy respect for the way they play. They have strengths across ev­ery line, but we will work to our strengths as well and see where that takes us.

We will ob­vi­ously have to make one change to the team that beat the Pies be­cause of the ham­string in­jury to Brad Shep­pard, so it will be in­ter­est­ing to see which way the match com­mit­tee goes.

Footy can dish out some tough breaks and it’s dis­ap­point­ing Shep won’t be there on Satur­day af­ter­noon af­ter play­ing 95 games in a row. He has been a key as­pect of our de­fen­sive struc­ture and has been an im­por­tant player all year, but we do have a squad men­tal­ity and who­ever comes into the team will be ex­pected to tran­si­tion and play the role Shep has ex­celled at all year.

While the stakes are big in Satur­day’s pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal, we will fo­cus on the job we have to do rather than the out­come and we’re look­ing for­ward to play­ing in front of about 60,000 mostly Ea­gles fans again.

It was amaz­ing a cou­ple of weeks ago and I reckon the crowd helped us over the line.

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