East Point has advanced to the Ballarat Football Netball League A grade netball grand final with a 52-34 win over Lake Wendouree at the Eastern Oval on Saturday.
The Kangaroos have been the dominant side for the season, dropping just one game and moving into premiership favouritism with wins over North Ballarat City in the second half of the season. But Lake Wendouree, which finished third in the home and away season, took it up to the minor premier early in the match – jumping out of the blocks to take a 13-10 quarter-time lead.
Captain Emma Farrell conceded the group let the finals nerves get the best of them in the opening term following some heart-breaking losses in its recent campaigns.
East Point was bundled out of last year’s finals series in straight sets and exited in two close preliminary finals in 2013 and 2014.
“It took us a little while to get going, I think we got a bit more nervous this week. We’ve been here a few times and not been able to pull it off so it mean a lot to us and it took a little bit to get the ball rolling,” Farrell said.
However, the response was emphatic.
East Point converted the first six goals of the term as an 18 goal to seven second quarter sparked the Kangaroos into gear as they tightened their grip of the semi-final clash.
“We came into that huddle and Sascha (Veldhuis) just said to us do we really want it? How much do you want it? And I think that second quarter showed how much we want and want to get to that grand final.”
The match would follow a similar path after half-time as East Point doubled its eight-goal half-time lead and seal the result.
As tensions flared in the final quarter, the highly-fancied Kangaroos showed their class and delivered a hard-earned 18-goal victory.
Goalkeeper Kate McLeod was influential in defence while East Point’s transition from defence to attack was a feature after quarter-time. Allowing its goalers, in particular Farrell, to convert regularly from close range.
Farrell said the side would benefit from the week off as it looks to rest some of its more experienced players. But the club will have a hit-out on Saturday despite its direct entry into the grand final, mindful of not losing the momentum it has built to this point of the year.
“It’s excitement now but we’re all very aware that there’s one more step before we can truly celebrate. We’re going to be focusing on that for the next two weeks and forgetting about everything else.
“We’ll do everything we can between now and then to come out ready and firing grand final day.”
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