Two out of three for Coastal Sharks
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.