STURT Diamonds will attempt to win Ballarat Netball Association’s premier league title, The Athlete’s Foot Cup, for the first time tonight.
Diamonds take on the might of reigning premier Dela Assuntas in their first cup grand final appearance at Llanberris Netball Centre.
Dela is chasing a 10th consecutive premiership.
Sturt coach Sue Allan said it had been a great year for the Diamonds.
“It really helps when you have players like Cynna Kydd – the benefits of having her have been huge, and it’s lifted the standard of the whole side,” Allan said.
“Everyone has stepped up another level.
“Win or lose, we’ve made a big step in the right direction.”
Involved in coaching on and off for 28 years, this was Allan’s first year coaching in the premier league.
Although Sturt is weary of Dela’s grand final experience, Allan said it could be anybody’s game.
“Dela being up against such an experienced side we know there’s a lot of pressure, but we’re up for the challenge,” Allan said.
Dela co-coach Amanda Clarke said the team’s grand final experience would be a positive for them going into the big match, but they weren’t thinking about the match as their 10th.
“Not many clubs of any sport have 10 consecutive grand finals, so if it happens it will be a great achievement for the club,” Clarke said.
“But we’re not thinking about the 10.
“We’re just looking at it as a grand final and trying to win that.
“We’re turning up to play a great game of netball and that’s it.
“As long as we come off court knowing that we’ve done everything we could and play our best netball, we’ll walk off court with the job done.”
Dela, who finished the season on top of the ladder, defeated Sturt only two weeks ago by seven points in the first round of the finals, buying them an immediate place in tonight’s grand final match.
Sturt has been competition for Dela throughout the season, beating them less than two months ago 64-52.
“Our last match was against Sturt; it was really consistent and close over the whole four quarters. There wasn’t much in it between us,” Clarke said.
“Playing Sturt in a grand final is unknown for us – we’ve played Brown Hill for the past five years.”