Kinglake’s senior netball coach Latoya Wards says that a round two win over Yea would give her side the belief it needs to go the extra step in the 2019 Division Two A Grade season.
The Lakers lost to the Tigers in last seasons decider by just one goal (45-44) in one of the most exciting Grand Finals in league history. It wasn’t the only tight encounter the two sides had throughout the season with all four of their 2018 clashes decided by a margin of less than 10 goals. Kinglake won the two home and away encounters (51-49 and 54 -45) but the Tigers stepped it up a gear in the finals series wining the semi-final 48-42 before the aforementioned Grand Final results.
Wards says that strong off-field relationships are the key to both sides consistent performances.
“Both Yea and ourselves have a close bunch of girls who are really good friends and that really helps us on the netball court because even though we are playing at a really strong level, we are playing with people that we’ve got a strong bond with and that helps our on court cohesion.”
Kinglake have added some more fire power to last season’s A Grade side with tall goal shooter Biljana Cvijetic joining the club. She started well for her new side scoring 43 goals in the Lakers massive win over Gembrook-Cockatoo in round one. She won’t be the only prominent goal scorer on the court come Thursday with Yea’s Melissa Martinov continuing on from her ridiculous 2018 campaign with 42 goals against Seville a fortnight ago.
Martinov scored 108 goals in her four clashes with Kinglake last season and Wards says that strong mid court pressure is the key to limiting the Tiger’s star shooter. If the Lakers can force the Yea mid courters to pass the ball into the ring from outside their desired positions this will help Kinglake defenders Caitlin Ryan and Alice Waack with the massive job ahead of them. Wing Defence and round one best on court Bridget Waack is set to be a massive piece of that puzzle.
“Bridget definitely brings a lot of strength to our mid-court, she’s tall and she hunts really well when in defence – she’ll be key.”
Wards’ outfit are looking forward to challenge that lays ahead of them on Thursday, as teams like Yea bring out the best in them.
“It’s a really strong league but Yea take it to the next level, Everyone looks forward to playing Yea, it makes us step up our game,”
“There’s nothing better than winning a game when it’s been close throughout the whole encounter.”
And while it won’t ever wash away the pain of the one goal loss in the 2018 decider, a win on Thursday will give Wards and her teammates the verification that they can contend once again this year.
“It would give us the belief that we could go that extra step this season.”