Intriguing contest

September 01, 2017

Shepparton and Kyabram will face-off with full-strength sides tonight, including former Melbourne Vixens shooter Kim Commane (centre) who missed the last clash against the Bombers.

Shepparton has presented itself as the side most likely to test Kyabram.

The pair has been clearly the Goulburn Valley League’s best sides this season, but will only face off at full-strength for the first time this year in the qualifying final tomorrow.

In their opening encounter this year the Bombers were comfortable victors, with the Bears yet to unveil former Melbourne Vixens shooter Kim Commane.

But even in the second meeting between the two sides, neither team had their best side on the court with the reigning premiers taking out the match by six goals.

Commane was one of the key outs, with Kyabram yet to see how it matches up against the classy goaler.

It will have the chance to face Commane under lights at Mooroopna in the league’s first night final.

‘‘Both of us haven’t come up against each other at full-strength, it takes a team to win a netball game... Loz (Lauren Pryde) and Mango (Ash Mangan) are unbelievable, but they’ll have their work cut out for them,’’ Kyabram coach Belinda Lees said.

Shepparton’s test is to stick with its opposition for longer than the 2 quarters it managed last time, with plenty of effort going into finding an advantage over the league’s best team.

‘‘It’s going to be interesting, the bottom line is how do you knock off Ky?’’ veteran Bears coach Tracey Brereton said.

‘‘Ky have got so much going for them, not just experience, but all the players have been together for a long time which counts for so much.

‘‘Everyone’s chasing Ky, they haven’t lost a game all year even with the debacle on the weekend, so it’ll be interesting to see how they go.’’

The Bombers played just a quarter-and-a-half of netball last Saturday before the match was called off due to an issue with the goalpost at Deakin Reserve.

But the GVL board decided to award Kyabram the victory ensuring it maintained its unbeaten season.

Having entered last season’s qualifying final chasing Seymour, Lees said her side was in a different position this weekend.

‘‘Last year we were the underdogs and this year it’s a complete turnaround, there are different expectations, but there’s nothing different internally, we know what we need to do,’’ she said.

Brereton is educated about her opposition tomorrow night, having led plenty of players in interleague campaigns.

But for her side in its first year playing as a cohort, teenagers such as Ella Sidebottom and Grace Egan will need to step up to their first finals campaign in the top tier.

If the Bears can take one advantage over Kyabram, it is that their most recent match was a night game at Mooroopna Recreation Reserve.

‘‘Every player had a good game and it’s rare to walk away from any game thinking that all players played well, there’s nothing else left, the time to go is now,’’ Brereton said.

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