It’s the biggest day on the netball calendar in Mudgee, and after this Saturday there will be a number of new champions in the district’s midst.
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Five full grades, and five years of young netballers, all have their grand finals this Saturday, September 16, with the first of the action kicking off from 10am.
The ‘title-fight’ of the afternoon will be the Division 1 grand final contest between Allstars Tanks and Allstars McDonald Lawson, which is set for 2.30pm.
The Tanks took out the minor premiership with with a 42 point haul to finish off the season, and were seven points of McDonald Lawson by the time the league wrapped up.
The two teams also faced off two weeks ago in the top grade semi-final, with the Tanks coming out on top 39-31.
McDonald Lawson then had to play Starlets Paragon for a chance at a rematch last weekend, and came out the 45-37 winners in another close match.
Allstar Tanks also have an old history in the grand finals by now – although they missed the 2016 top grade finals, the team in various forms has claimed seven division one titles in eleven seasons.
That’s an impressive run that will be at the Tanks' backs when they come into the deciding match on the weekend.
Tanks head coach Jane Wiltshire is looking forward to the Allstar against Allstar match-up to close out the season, and she knows it will be a close, and interesting game.
Regardless of the fact that the Tanks came out on top just a fortnight ago, Wiltshire thinks that the game is about as level as it gets.
“We watched them last week and they smashed a team that we had a close run in with,” she said.
“The team is confident in our own abilities but there’s no way that we are thinking we can just go out there and win it easy – it’s going to be really hard.”
The key factor for the match could be the Tanks lineup – a mix of young talents and experience leaders.
“Tracy Kastelein and Erin Constable are definitely steering the ship out on the court and keeping those younger heads in line,” Wiltshire said.
Alongside Kastelein and Constable is Brooke Partridge, who has played in nine grand finals in her career, and a host of representative players like Paige Sales.
“That sort of leadership goes a long way,” Wiltshire added.
On the other side of the court will be stars for McDonald Lawson as well however, with shooter Kaylee Consadine one of the key players for the second Allstars team.
Payden Lawson, who herself is no strange to starring in grand finals and lifting the district first division trophies, will be one of the leaders for the McDonald Lawson squad.
A key danger for the Tanks as well, Wiltshire pointed out, was Jacinda Spicer’s fantastic defence.
“Spinder is up our shooting end and she is just damaging,” the Tanks coach said.
“She is agile and quick and it’s going to be hard work getting around their defence. They play a very good defensive game.”
The division one grand final, packed full of history, stars and an air of anticipation, is sure to be another entry for the history books of the Mudgee District Netball Association, and won’t be a game to be missed by anyone at the courts on Saturday afternoon.
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