By Alyce Collett
After a long season, that one day in September has arrived. The Division Two Netball Grand Final is upon us, and the top two sides Yea and Seville do battle to take home the ultimate prize.
These two sides have met three times this season.
Their first battle was way back in Round One when the Tigers hosted the Blues in what was a 53 to 28 goal win for the Tigers.
Yea held a five goal lead at quarter time, and that was also the half time margin after both teams scored seven goals each in the second quarter. Yea shot away in the third quarter before extending the lead even further in the final term.
For Yea, Melissa Martinov was the star in the goal circle, shooting 42 of her teams 53 goals. The remaining goals came through Nikki Watts. Other players that played well include Amy Taylor and Tayissa Coppinger.
Meanwhile for Seville, new recruit Jackie Cullimore was the top goal scorer with 19, whilst Carly McDonnell shot eight and Cailey Nolan chipped in with one. Seville’s best that afternoon include Libby McNay, McDonnell and Stephanie McNay.
The second meeting occurred in Round 10, this time at Seville’s home deck. This time it was a closer affair, but it was still an eight goal win to Yea.
Seville actually held a one goal lead at quarter time and a two goal lead at half time, before Yea snatched the lead and took a five goal buffer into the final change and extended that lead in the last quarter.
For Yea, Melissa Martinov and Nikki Watts shared the goals once again, shooting 21 goals each.
This time around Carly McDonnell was top goal scorer for Seville, shooting 18 goals, with the remaining goals coming from Cullimore.
Tayissa Coppinger, Nikki Watts and Lauren Cronk were Yea’s best, while McDonnell, Stephanie McNay and Mandy Bell were among the best for the Blues.
The third meeting was in the Semi Final only a fortnight ago. The margin was only four goals at quarter time, but a nine goal to five second term opened the margin out to eight, and Seville never got close after that. In the end the margin was 17 goals.
Once again was Yea’s top goal shooter was Melissa Martinov, with 31 out of the team’s 46 goals. Nikki Watts chipped in with 15 goals.
Once again Seville’s goals came from Carly McDonnell and Jackie Cullimore, with Cullimore shooting 21 goals and McDonnell putting in with seven.
Tayissa Coppinger and Samantha Coppinger were among Yea’s best that day, while Ella Bayliss and Libby McNay were Seville’s best.
Both of these teams have had great seasons. Seville’s only losses for the year came against Yea, while Yea had only the one loss for the season, which was against Yarra Glen in round 14. Both sides had very different paths through the finals to reach the Grand Final.
As the side that finished top of the ladder, Yea got the first week of the finals off before defeating Seville in the semi final to win direct access to the Grand Final. Seville on the other hand had to go the long way round to get to the Grand Final. They defeated Kinglake in the Qualifying Final, before losing to Yea in the Semi Final and then defeating Kinglake again in the Preliminary Final.
Yea defender Rachael Hickey described her team’s season as consistent, and one that has seen the growth of individuals and the team continue to develop off the success off last year.
“Overall as a team, we’ve been able to put together a style of netball we are confident in when everyone plays their role.”
Their only loss for the year came against Yarra Glen in Round 14. Hickey puts this down to the fact that they were struck down with injuries and that they had players unavailable due to Victorian Netball League (VNL) commitments, but still gave full credit to Yarra Glen.
“To their credit, Yarra Glen came out firing in this game and were deserving winners.”
She believes that the key to success on the weekend will be playing four quarters of consistent netball.
“We match up very evenly with Seville across the whole court, so we know we are in for a tough battle as always. If we can focus on the basics, work for each other and play our game of netball that will go a long way to the result working in our favour.”
“We are fortunate to have lots of versatility in our team, we have players who can play in different positions on the court and the confidence in making changes whenever we need to. We also have a good mix of experienced and young players in the team.”
In an unusual fixturing situation, Yea found themselves with the bye during the last round of the season and the first round of the finals.
Some people may see that as a negative, but Hickey believed it worked in Yea’s favour.
The extra weeks off gave them a chance to rest some sore and tired bodies and give them a chance to reset as a team and get prepared for the finals campaign ahead.
Meanwhile, Seville coach Carly McDonnell is certainly not complaining about the way her side’s season has gone so far.
She described the season as “pretty fantastic” and noted how after recruiting a few new players, they have had to make changes to their structures and have worked hard to get where they are – a step closer to ultimate success then 2018.
She said that the build up this week will be to enjoy last week’s win but then back to training as normal on Thursday.
McDonnell also says that there is a lot of skill, depth and versatility in the Seville team, but they dropped their heads in the semi final, which is one of the reasons she believes they were not successful against Yea.
She noted how Yea are a “bloody good opposition” and “very skilled and composed” so she believes Seville will need to need to play four strong quarters, stay composed and take it quarter by quarter.
McDonnell will be aiming to boost her team’s confidence in her pregame speech and telling her team to stay composed.
She also described how Seville have got all their netball teams and both their football teams into their respective Grand Final as an amazing achievement.
The Yea v Seville A Grade Final will be live streamed on OETV.com.au and the player chosen as Best on Court will receive the Jade Heinrich (nee Hottes) Medal
Greg Heinrich – AFL Outer East Netball Development Manager
Yea by 12 goals
“Yea’s depth across the court will see them go back to back in 2019.”
Jade Heinrich – Inspire Sports Group Director / Inaugural Division Two Best on Court Medal Winner
Yea by 7 goals
“Yea’s experiences in last years thrilling grand final as well as their strong attacking end should see them across the line in a close one.”
Mr X – Mystery Tipster
Yea by 2 goals
“Seville’s mid court will produce enough to keep them in the game, but the Tigers composure will see them win another thriller.”