Thunder ready to rumble in decider
NETBALL: A year after dominating the ARes grand final against GHS Jaguars a fresh-faced City Thunder is readying for an all-out onslaught in the A grade grand final today.
Led by the experience of strike offensive end Kim Blinman and packed full of representative talent including captain Emersyn Burton, the minor premiers have had to do it tough in the finals series.
After dropping their first semi-final to grand final opponent Northside NYX in thrilling fashion, the Thunder girls were forced to work hard in their do-or-die preliminary final against Redmen last week.
It was a tough-as-nails victory that captain Burton believed would only help her side coming in to this weekend.
"Sometimes this season we have had a tendency to go into games a little bit over-confident and it has really hurt us,” she said.
"But last week was a chance to prove how tough we need to be to win this grand final.
"It has almost woken the side up, and fired us up.”
The youthful side, which will have three players backing up from earlier junior grand finals, will need all the fire it can muster as it comes up against an experienced Northside outfit.
The team, which was put together only this season, is made up of a host of former A Grade players including a recently returned Mel Kamoto.
Kamoto, who grew up in the Grafton Netball Association ranks, has spent 15 years away from home, but in her first season back on court has been instrumental in helping the Northside girls earn an A Grade grand final berth.
"Honestly we're at the point where we are just out to have fun on the court,” Kamoto said.
"All of us grew up with the same coaches, and played in a lot of the same representative sides so coming together has been a good experience.
"We love to have a laugh and a joke with each other when we're on court, but we can also switch on when it's needed.”
Burton said the nerves had been peaking ahead of the grand final as she expected a fierce battle between the two new rivals.
"I am already sweating, just thinking about how tough this game is going to be,” she said.
"We have to shut down their shooting end and stop the ball from getting there. They are so lethal on goal, they don't miss.”
B GRADE: Rhino Rebels v Redmen Jaca Hotel
The B-Grade grand final is set to be a grudge match where Rhino Rebels will face-off against Redmen Jaca Hotel. This is a replay of last year's grand final, in which the Redmen came out on top won.
Redmen have had a few key personnel changes to this year's team which have strengthened their side, but Rhinos have both the grit and the determination to prove themselves challenge their rivals.
With a mere seven goal margin in the Semi, Rebels will have to fight hard to redeem themselves if they want to steal the winning title in this grade.
B2 GRADE: S&S Energizers v Rhino Rascals
Having scored a semi-final win over Rhino Rascals, S&S Energizers are have proven themselves to be a force to be reckoned with. over the course of season.
Only two points separated these teams on the ladder.
In the two games they have played against each other in the regular competition rounds, both teams have managed to score the win.
It could come down to the wire, where a winner will be determined by skill and stamina.
C GRADE: Rhino Reckless v Northside Young Guns
Northside Young Guns have taken the long way around but have shown that they are more than worthy of the top position in this grade, fighting hard for last week's win.
Rhino Reckless had an easier path to the big game, going straight into the grand final after winning the semi-final. Their well-earned week off may work in their favour by letting them step onto the court with clear minds and fresh legs.
In a game with the skill to go either way, the team who steals the lead first and has the stamina to forge ahead will have the best chance at winning the title
D GRADE: Northside Epics v City Pearls
City Pearls have shown us what they are truly capable of and have earned a spot in this weekend's D Grade Grand Final against Northside Epics.
Both sides will be eager to get this game underway to prove that they this season's number one team. Both teams are at full strength with the grit to match, so it's hard to say predict who will walk away victorious in the grand final this weekend.
So both teams teams had better be sure to they put their best foot forward and show us what they're made of are at their best.
11-12 YEARS: Northside Firebirds v Northside Fireworks
These two teams finished with one point difference on the top of the ladder at the end of the competition rounds.
Both teams are certain to come out fighting harder than they ever have before with their love of netball driving them to play their very best.
This game is one of many rematches with only a four goal difference separating them in the Semi Final. Both Firebirds and Fireworks are keen to prove themselves as a huge threat, but seeing as both teams are first-time grand finalists in this grade, the newfound pressure could swing the game in either direction.
9-10 YEARS: Tucabia BFFs v Northside Jewels
These two young teams are both aiming high to walk away victorious this Saturday. No matter the outcome, players from both sides have grown in strength and skill over the course of the season and are on the path towards being powerful netballers in the years to come.