Staring down barrel of three

September 22, 2017

Shepparton's B-reserve team celebrates its back-to-back premiership last year. The Bears are aiming for a three-peat in Sunday's grand final.

Shepparton’s B-reserve team is aiming for a three-peat on Sunday.

The Bears who have been the dominant side in recent years, are coming up against the Shepparton Swans as they aim to continue their run.

But coach Stacey Thompson said they would be treating the grand final as though they were not the reigning premiers.

‘‘It’s really exciting, it’s not that we have forgotten about the other two, but we’re just treating it as its own, it’d be great if it happens, but we have to win first,’’ she said.

A similar side from last year will enter the contest, with four new players having entered the 11-woman squad.

Having lost just one match for the season and drawn another, it has been a successful year for Thompson’s side.

She said having a variety of different players to choose from meant having a reply for every opposition.

‘‘It’s actually worked really well, all the girls understand that when it’s their time on the court they give everything and it’s good to have fresh legs and match up on height,’’ Thompson said.

‘‘With 11 of us that can do it, we’ve probably got the most depth in the competition, which has been a massive advantage.’’

Given the Bears have won their three prior encounters against the Swans this season, including the qualifying final, Thompson said games had been so tight it would come down to just a handful of goals.

Swans coach Naomi Amos was hopeful her side could perform for the full match to bring the side a victory in its first year as a group.

She was thrilled with how far the side had come across the season.

‘‘It’s first year as a coach for me, so I’m absolutely ecstatic, I’m so proud,’’ she said.

Although her side is yet to defeat the Bears, Amos was buoyed by the Swans’ performance in the preliminary final to defeat Shepparton United.

‘‘We just have to play simple, steady, smart netball and that was the key on Sunday just gone and I think it really worked, so everyone including myself needs to step up, be a leader and stay cool, calm and collected,’’ she said.

The B-grade grand final will pit Benalla and Echuca against each other, with the Saints looking to add a win in the decider to the minor premiership.

Conversely, the Murray Bombers entered the grand final from fourth position, after defeating Kyabram and Shepparton United to progress.

But Benalla will be nervous facing Echuca, having defeated the Murray Bombers by just one goal in this year’s semi-final.

Echuca has also upset the Saints this year, one of only three sides to do so.

In the under-17s, Shepparton United will be aiming to capitalise on its wealth of talent with a grand final win against Echuca.

A-grade players Elle Brooks, Laura Cole and Olivia Kirby will all take the court for the Demons, as the Murray Bombers aim to be the first side to defeat United this year.

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