Stanhope learns lesson that fadeout could kill flag hopes

August 31, 2017

With an eye on finals, Stanhope coach Kerrie Gray hopes her team can play out the full game on Saturday, and not repeat last week's fourth-quarter fade out.

Winning form is good form and Stanhope is in the box seat to progress past the first round of Kyabram District Netball League finals.

The Lions lost just one match in the last 13 regular season rounds, capping the regular season with a three-goal upset of Tallygaroopna.

Stanhope coach Kerrie Gray said her side would have to ensure there is no final-quarter fadeout like what occurred last Saturday.

‘‘It was a good match, we had a tight contest and they (the players) certainly learned a lesson, we came out firing and built a good lead,’’ she said.

‘‘It was a good lesson to learn last week because it might not be something we get away with this week.’’

The Lions face Murchison-Toolamba at Avenel on Sunday as the Grasshoppers come off a more shaky entry into September.

Entering the finals after just missing last year, Alice Cunningham has eyes on going further. The pair have seen each other twice this year and Stanhope has taken the chocolates in both games, although not by convincing margins.

Gray said Sunday would again be another tight tussle.

‘‘They’ll be really tough on Sunday, they’ve got an even playing side and they’re similar to us in that their netball has improved as the season has gone on, so we’re going to have to win all the positions,’’ she said.

But should Stanhope continue its form, a match-up against the winner of Tallygaroopna and Undera awaits.

‘‘We’ve kind of had to play some really good netball to win and to actually make the finals because of the draw, as a unit we’ve all stood up together and hope on Sunday that’ll be similar,’’ Gray said.

The Redlegs may be coming off a loss, but still begin favourites in a match-up with Undera.

As the last team to qualify for the finals, a strong opening to the season gave the Lions the push to finish in the top six.

Having spent a long time absent from the finals, Undera supporters will be out in full force to help their side over the line against a competition powerhouse.

Old foes Nagambie and Avenel will clash for a place in the grand final in a week’s time.

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