A GRAND final berth is on the line when Warrack Eagles take on Horsham Demons in Saturday’s Wimmera Netball Association A Grade major semi-final.
The Eagles finished the season as minor premiers, but the Demons were just two points behind in second spot on the ladder.
The teams split the wins the two times they met this season. The Eagles came back from five goals down at quarter-time to win by 10 goals in round four, but the Demons got revenge in round 13 with a nailbiting two-goal victory.
A scintillating first quarter set up the win for Horsham in that game, where they scored 21-8 to put the Eagles on the back foot early.
Eagles coach Jane Richardson said her side knew it had to make sure that did not happen in the semi-final.
“The second time we played them we did have a really slow start – they just dominated us in every position,” she said.
“But even though we were 13 goals down we had the belief that we could win. It was just a matter of taking it by quarter by quarter.
“We got back to within a goal, and lost by two.
“The girls did a great job. They never gave up and that's all you can ask.”
Richardson said she was excited for the weekend’s match, and would take confidence from her players’ depth of finals experience.
“I think it will be a great game. We're pretty evenly matched,” she said.
“A lot of our girls have played together since their junior days, so they know each other well, they know how the others move on court, and they trust each other. I couldn't ask for a better group really.”
Richardson said containing prolific Demons goal shooter Emma Buwalda would be a key in the match.
“She has been playing really well, and we've got a few options for who will match up on her,” she said.
“Jess Kelly and Jenna Schulz have both played at keeper this season.
“I think there will be really good battles all across the court.”
Demons coach Pauline Butler said after last week’s qualifying final win she expected a hard-fought game.
“We are looking forward to the contest against Warrack again,” she said.
“It will be a tough one. They are leading the way and are probably the team to beat. We will try to challenge them, with a big reward up for grabs.”
While you’re with us, you can now receive updates straight to your inbox twice weekly from the Wimmera Mail-Times. To make sure you’re up-to-date with all the news from across the Wimmera, sign up below.