After a week of reflection on what went wrong in a lacklustre semi-final, East Point now has a dogged desire to prove itself in Saturday’s do or die clash with Sunbury.
Despite the chance to lock in a Ballarat Football Netball League A-grade grand final spot, East Point struggled to find its sense of fight after a slow start against North Ballarat City on Saturday.
Now faced with a preliminary final against the reigning champions and no second chances, the players are ready to put it all on the line.
East Point co-coaches Jo Bayles and Sarah Bourke have spent the week catching up with every team member individually, with the more personal approach particularly beneficial for some of the younger players or those in less familiar positions.
Bayles said it had been important to touch base with the players, especially considering the range of experience levels within the group.
“We feel we just weren’t in the right fame of mind coming into the match, we felt like they (North) got the jump on us in the first quarter and it set the tone for the rest of the match,” she said.
“To the credit of all of them, they’ve taken a lot out of that game, they’ve done some really fantastic reflections and pleasingly a lot of what they’ve identified as individuals we had already flagged as their coaches, so we’re on the same page.”
But with Sunbury only just getting past Lake Wendouree despite a comfortable lead in the first half, the Lions too are searching for their best netball despite high stakes.
East Point and Sunbury have only had one other meeting this season, where the Kangaroos got agonisingly close to becoming the first team to defeat the Lions only to fall short by a single goal.
“When we look at their performance on Sunday and also have a look at the performance that we had against them during the season, we actually feel we match up really well against Sunbury,” Bayles said. “We are very aware for the most part of the season a lot of their wins have been off a really good start in that first quarter, and we’re very mindful of how such a flat start can impact us. Our main objective is to make sure we’re mentally prepared for Saturday and we can get out of the starting blocks really quickly.”
While Bayles predicts a physical match, she wants her players to concentrate on what they are known for, tough defence. The onus is also on the team to work harder, be more patient and more considered in delivering the ball in attack.
Most importantly, Lake Wendouree in nearly pulling off a win showed the importance of persistence and not giving up – the type of mind set East Point wants to bring.