REIGNING Ballarat Football Netball League premiership coach Kim Bailey admits she holds an element of fear of Redan ahead of this week’s qualifying final.
The Sunbury coach told a BFNL press conference on Wednesday that despite finishing the season on top of the ladder in its quest for back-to-back titles, her side still faced a monumental task to even make the grand final again.
Sunbury and Redan will meet on Sunday with a double chance at their disposal, after Redan claimed second spot in the last match of the season last week.
“They’re a quality team, so I’m a bit scared of them, to tell you the truth,” Bailey said.
“Any time you win a grand final you become the hunted and we’ve had to deal with that this year.”
For Redan, coach Kate McMahon said it had not mattered that her side had lost both of its matches against Sunbury so far this year.
“Both games, in my eyes, were completely different games,” she said. “Both times we played I had my Ballarat Pride players out.
“I’m not disheartened by the losses. I was pleased we were sticking with them all the way.”
In the two elimination finals for the week, Melton will meet North Ballarat City, while traditional netball rivals East Point and Lake Wendouree will do battle.
The Bloods sacrificed second spot in the final match of the year last season, although will gain a double chance if it beats North City this week.
Last year’s league best and fairest winner, Brooke Thompson, will return in what will be just the second match all year Melton has been at full strength.
North City coach Annie McCartin said she did not consider her side to be underdog, despite finishing in sixth position after the home and away season.
North City reached the grand final last year.
“I wouldn’t class us as underdogs, I think it is just the way the ladder has fallen and we will be there competing just as hard as the other teams,” she said.
East Point will arguably go in as the favourite to beat Lake Wendouree, having had one of the strongest finishes to the season of any side.
Coach Emma Farrell said her side was confident but would take every precaution against traditional powerhouse Lake Wendouree.
“We’re hitting our straps at the right time of the season, which is good for us, but having said that, finals brings out completely different types of games,” she said.
For the Lakers, assistant coach Melanie Allen said even one win would be a bonus for her side.
“To win a final would be an added bonus for us. We are in a rebuilding phase,” she said.