Lions get desired response

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.

SCORES

A grade: Sunbury 48 d Redan 34

B grade: Sunbury 59 d Ballarat 50

C grade: Lake Wendouree 42 d Ballarat 18

D grade: Lake Wendouree 30 d East Point 20

19/under: North Ballarat City 42 d Ballarat 41

FIXTURES

A grade: North Ballarat City v Sunbury

B grade: Lake Wendouree v Sunbury

C grade: Sunbury v Lake Wendouree

D grade: Sunbury v Lake Wendouree

19/under: Redan v North Ballarat City

PRESSURE: Redan's Ruby-Rose Parry comes under heavy Sunbury pressure as she looks to find a teammate in the preliminary final.

PRESSURE: Redan's Ruby-Rose Parry comes under heavy Sunbury pressure as she looks to find a teammate in the preliminary final.

ON TARGET: Lions' Ruth Smith looks to get her shot on target in Saturday's preliminary final clash with Redan. Sunbury prevailed 48 goals to 34. Pictures: Lachlan Bence.

ON TARGET: Lions' Ruth Smith looks to get her shot on target in Saturday's preliminary final clash with Redan. Sunbury prevailed 48 goals to 34. Pictures: Lachlan Bence.

PASS: Sunbury's Tarryn Munro fires off a pass through the mid-court as the Lions overcame Redan in Saturday's A grade preliminary final.

PASS: Sunbury's Tarryn Munro fires off a pass through the mid-court as the Lions overcame Redan in Saturday's A grade preliminary final.

SPOT-UP: Redan's Cassandra Peace looks for an option up the court. Sunbury was too strong for Redan on Saturday.

SPOT-UP: Redan's Cassandra Peace looks for an option up the court. Sunbury was too strong for Redan on Saturday.

INFLUENTIAL: Sunbury defender Ashleigh Hardy was one of the best players on court as she helped limit Redan to 34 goals on Saturday.

INFLUENTIAL: Sunbury defender Ashleigh Hardy was one of the best players on court as she helped limit Redan to 34 goals on Saturday.

TOUGH HIT-OUT: Redan's Emma Inverarity sends the ball down the court in Saturday's 14-goal loss to Sunbury in the A grade preliminary final.

TOUGH HIT-OUT: Redan's Emma Inverarity sends the ball down the court in Saturday's 14-goal loss to Sunbury in the A grade preliminary final.