It was not the expected path to the grand final, but Sunbury has booked its ticket to the last weekend on the Ballarat Netball League calendar.
The only blemish on the Lions home and away season was a draw with Redan. However, North Ballarat City delivered a one-goal upset semi-final victory over Sunbury to move straight into the grand final, forcing the Lions to overcome Redan on Saturday – which it did.
Sunbury recorded a 48-34 win to set-up what promises to be a thrilling grand final.
Coach Adam Boldiston was rapt with the performance in what he felt was always going to be a tough encounter.
“It was a really tough game, it was really physical and willing and the girls really stood-up to that challenge and were out to prove a point after the loss last week,” Boldiston said.
“They were hungry for it, we knew it was going to be a really tough battle and a totally different style of game. With North Ballarat it’s a bit more free-flowing, whereas Redan are very, very strong defensively and very physical all over the court...you’ve just got to grind away at it.”
Boldiston praised his defensive duo of Ashleigh Hardy and Monique Clark for a brilliant display.
“Defensively it was a fantastic effort.
“Putting the constant pressure on them and making them take shots that they weren’t comfortable to take.”
Sunbury knows the strengths of North, but it is another thing quelling them. But Boldiston said containing their quick ball movement would be key as well as getting on top of North’s talented yet inexperienced goalers.
But there was no doubt last week’s loss was fueling the Sunbury fire.
“We know they’re a quality side, they’re quite slick.
“But at our best, we know we can match it. People can struggle to contain us, so we want to make sure we get off to a good start next weekend.
“The girls are really excited and really hungry to get redemption for the loss we had.”
In its two meetings this year, Sunbury won the in-season encounter by six goals while North won last week.