LEADERS: Forsythes’ Karlie Robards and Souths’ Tiffany Gilmour get their hands on the Newcastle championship silverware. Picture: Simone De PeakFORSYTHES coach Traci Baber believes herside can match it with Souths at either end of the courtwhen theytry for a third time to stop them marching to aNewcastle open netball championship on Saturday.
It will be“just what happens in the middle” that will decider if they can end Souths’ unbeaten streak, which started after aloss to Forsythes in early 2014.
Souths will strive for a hat-trick ofminor-major premiership doubles when they clash with Forsythes (formerly Bilbie Dan Advocates) for a third year in a row in the grand final at National Park from 2.30pm.
Baber’s side have overcome a disrupted season to finish fourth and beat Nova and Maryville Tavern in the finals.Despite the tough run, Baber said her playerswerein a better position to topple Souths this year.
“I just think they are all older and they make better decisions,” Baber said. “It’s never been about our ability on the court. They’ve always been talented girls, it’s just about decision-making and how they play under pressure.I think we match up with them everywhere, but they are just older heads and smarter.Our defence is good enough.We’ll turn over the ball, and Sabina [Gomboso]will get the goals for us, it’s just what happens in the middle.”
Without attacking weapon Tiffany Gilmour, Southswon 40-36 in last year’s decider after they prevailed40-24 in 2014.Gilmour (nee Lincoln), a former Hunter Jaegerand two-time state league player of the year, has returnedthis year, making Souths an evenmoreformidable side.
Gilmour, though,saidForsythes were atougher proposition this year.
“They didn’t have a solid start to the season but I think sometimes you learn more from losses and they are building at the right time,” Gilmoursaid.
“Their maturity is definitely starting to show on the court. In the Maryville game on the weekend, it was close but they were able to hold it together. But we’ve also matured with our youngerplayers now older, and we’ve got a lot of experience right across our whole team, so it will be a good contest.”
As for the potential forcomplacency, Gilmour said:“We don’t have slipping up in our minds. We’re out there to win and hopefully win convincingly.”
Souths:Tiffany Gilmour, TiannaCummings, EmmaDumbrill, NarelleEather, JordanLadwig, ElizaLewis, EllieMcVey, GeorgiaMcVey, LisaSpencer, KatelynStansfield, Brooke Fennings.
Forsythes: Karlie Robards,Natasha Robards,TiuatiHolland, JadeSmallhorne, EmmaBradford, SabinaGomboso, EvaBailey, SophieBaber, MaddieTaylor,AneekaMarcozzi, KelseyRyall.
Forsythes haveLogan Flanagan away with representative touch football duties, while Souths are full-strength except for the loss of Katrina Tressider, who suffered a season-ending knee injury early in the campaign.
Gilmour said her side had been “building as well, even though we’ve won all year.We’ve had some ordinary games, then we’ve gone back to training and worked on things.We’re looking strong and it’s coming together at the right time.”
She said Souths’ depth had helped them stay focused and unbeaten this season.
“I think all 12 players are so talented and so strong, that that pushes you to keep wanting to go and do your best, because you know there’s other people who can come on and replace you,” she said.
“I think that’s why we are so strong, because of our depth. And we worked hard every week.I think we’re one of the hardest training teams in the comp.”
Baber said Gilmour and Eather“are the two we have to counteract, but we’ve talked about it and we’ve got a strategy, whether it works or not.
“But I’ve got lots of change-ups that Ican do, and that’s how we won the preliminary final.
“Of the 11 who were there, 10 played and we were able to change things.We never had that through the year. We usually had seven, eight players and if it wasn’t working, we were done.”
She said the loss of Flanagan was a blow to her defence “because she played amazing last week to get us here, but I’ve got plenty there I can call on.”