Nail-biter on cards for Wimmera netball

HORSHAM co-coach Zoe Heard has said her side would go into Saturday's A Grade netball grand final as underdogs, despite defeating Ararat in their qualifying final clash earlier this month.

Heard believed the Rats were the in-form side of the competition and had more senior finals experience.

Ararat has hit form at the right time of the year, knocking out minor premiers Stawell 32-25 in the preliminary final at the weekend.

They have five-time Heather Hatcher Medal winner Megan Shea and experienced player-coach Olivia West at its disposal.

Defence is also one of the Rats' major strengths, according to Heard, with goal defence Rebecca Skrabl and goal keeper Kira Payne in red-hot form.

"Everyone expects it to be between Megan and myself, which is obviously one key match-up," Heard said.

"But I think what a lot of people miss is how strong Ararat's defence is.

"If our goal scorers can stand up tall, get their goals in and rebound well, we can definitely take it out. But we've got to look out for Skrabl and Payne."

The Demons have a relatively young side, with the likes of Paige Lloyd, Georgia Duncan and Taylor Mentha all still developing senior netballers.

But Heard believes the girls have worked tirelessly-hard throughout the season and deserve a premiership medallion.

"A Grade hasn't had one for a while, with Ararat and Warrack Eagles dominating, so it would be nice to see someone else win," she said.

"I know our girls are young and have long careers ahead of them, but it would be nice for them to get an A Grade flag at the start of their senior careers."

Ararat co-coach West said the key to making this year's grand final was not getting ahead of themselves and taking things one step at a time.

"We've just been going week by week and we've got the 'nothing to lose' attitude," she said.

West admitted the Rats' last quarter against Stawell was less than impressive, and was hoping to rectify it before the weekend.

"I think a little bit of nerves came into it and the conditions weren't ideal either," she said.


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