Dex netball challenge
THE Daily Examiner Netball Challenge final tips off today, with Grafton High School defending its open title against Maclean High.
Several Grafton players were unavailable for their side's opening rounds, creating some line-up problems.
But the team showed superb heart, depth and determination to win two and draw one of its three round games.
It won 18-7 against South Grafton High and 14-10 against Clarence Valley Anglican School before fighting out a 14-all draw against McAuley Catholic College.
The draw sent the finals qualification game to a countback, with Grafton's superior for and against allowing it to sneak into the final over McAuley.
For Grafton, North Coast representative Sarah Kitcher has been the standout, with Emily Ford putting in a superb showing at goal attack.
"The team is full of gutsy players who give nothing less than their all," coach Julie Stringer said. "The girls have an unrivalled belief they can win the game."
A win will be no mean feat, however, because Maclean High comes into the final in impressive form.
With three North Coast representatives and an Australian All Schools representative in Nirvana Makings, Maclean blitzed its opponents with solid defence, accurate shooting and a fast mid-court.
In the Year 9/10 competition, McAuley Catholic College comes into the grand final as the only undefeated team in the competition.
After a comprehensive 27-11 defeat of grand final opponent Grafton High, McAuley will be hard to beat, with strong, consistent performances paving the way to success.
With the loss to McAuley fresh in their minds, Grafton's players will come into the game with just that one blemish on their strong record.
Coach Stringer said the Grafton team would have to dig deep for the win.
"In the early matches they combined well, played smart netball and easily defeated SGH (28-7) and CVAS (27-2)," Stringer said.
"The girls will need to dig deep and play consistent, safe netball to defeat MCC."
Maddy Hartmann and Katelyn Ford have been leading from the front, and have formed an attacking combination that's been described as awesome.
"We've got a team full of Year 9s, so it's a very young side," Stringer said.
"MCC beat us last year in the final, so we're on a mission."
The Year 7/8s grand final will be between South Grafton and McAuley Catholic College, starting at 4pm at the Grafton Netball courts.