The only Murray Netball League team to defeat Moama this season will tackle the minor premier in Saturday’s grand final.
Tongala has struggled to find rhythm early in matches this year, but had no such trouble on Saturday as it took control of the preliminary final clash with Deniliquin initially and never relinquished it.
‘‘It’s something that we’ve been working on, it hasn’t been the best part of our game, so that was important that we did that and started strong,’’ playing coach Alicia White said.
Sisters Abby Pettifer and Sara Kent combined superbly in the first half to see the Blues out to a lead of as much as 10 goals at one stage, and White was happy that her charges remained level-headed all the way through to the final whistle in the 45-34 victory.
‘‘It was lovely to have Sara and Abby back, they definitely add a lot of depth to our team,’’ White said.
‘‘I think our composure today was really good and I think we had a lot of patience and had a lot of time with the ball.’’
Amy Hammond and Paige Wade dominated the midcourt for the entire clash, with the latter backing up from a full game in B-grade.
It has been the story of Tongala’s season, and White is hoping that resilience can hold her troops in good stead on the biggest stage of the year.
‘‘We’ve been doing the same thing all year, we’ve had our B-graders doubling up and playing both games and it’s working so we’ll do the same thing next week and anyone can win,’’ she said.
‘‘It’s really lovely to be able to share it (grand final week) with our B-grade girls because we’ve worked as a team all year as a squad so it’s lovely to be able to share that together, we’ve worked really hard all year.
‘‘We’re looking forward to the challenge, Moama’s an exceptional side so we’ll have to bring our best game and see what happens.’’
●Deniliquin’s season may have finished on a sour note on Saturday, but it received a massive boost at yesterday’s league awards night.
Amelia Wyatt was named A-grade’s best and fairest player after a standout season that included initial interleague selection before being a late withdrawal.
Wyatt took out the award with 26 votes in a thrilling count, with Echuca United’s Gracie Berryman (25 votes) and Numurkah playing coach Renee Judd (24) hot on her heels.
Finley’s Emma Hurlston was given the nod in the B-grade count, while Numurkah’s Andrea Holmes (C-grade) and Deniliquin’s Rebecca Leiper (C-reserve) rounded out the senior competitions.
In the junior ranks, Echuca United’s Jessica Davidson won the 17-and-under best and fairest, Tongala’s Hollie Reid the 15-and-under, Finley’s Ruby Russell the 13-and-under and Nathalia’s Mia Bell the 12-and-under.
For more on the Murray Netball League awards see tomorrow’s News.