A RESERVE – MILLICENT v WEST GAMBIER
MILLICENT’S A Reserve line-up has only lost one game for the season and that was to its second semi-final opponent West Gambier.
While the Saints finished clearly on top, the A Reserve competition was tightly contested and there were not many runaway victories for any of the top teams.
Clearly, Donna Denton looms large.
The multiple A Grade association best and fairest and premiership player, brings not just her talent but her leadership to the court.
She is the architect of everything which happens in the offensive third for Millicent.
West coach and goal keeper Racheal Langford will take on the task of limiting Denton.
She she has the smarts to try and curb Denton but will need her team mates further up the court to pressure the incoming ball.
Of course, it is not all about Donna Denton.
She has two more-than-capable shooting partners – daughter Abby Denton, who has beautiful vision and delivers the ball well and Rylee Kenny, who is back after a season away from the court, with her speed arguably her biggest weapon.
Maddie Milich will look to deny whoever her goal attack opponent is and the young defender has taken all before her in her first season of A Reserve netball.
Milich is tight checking and hard working and while she appears unassuming she is a fierce competitor.
She reads the play well, giving her the chance to pull in a number of interceptions.
With Ellie Xanthopolous also able to play a similar role in circle defence, the Roos are blessed with options.
At the other end of the court there is plenty of scoring power as well with the West shooting combination of Tahlia Earl, who has had a stellar season in her return to Malseed Park, and new recruit Gracie Peterson who has great timing on her moves and finishes accurately.
Add to that the talent of junior player Lucy Simpson and the Roos will not be worried about being able to hit the scoreboard.
Of course they will not have it all their own way with a group of talented Saints defenders ready and waiting to make life hard.
Alice Pratt is a tight-checking defender, Nikeisha Facey also denies time and space to her opponents, while Keeley Stuart and Edie Easterby bring the athleticism and willingness to hunt the interception.
The mid courts are well matched and both teams will look to get on top in that area to give their team the advantage and more scoring opportunities.
Millicent has Jackie Sunderland, who uses her speed and smarts to dominate, while Alana Craig is super reliable, drives hard and has a great defensive mindset when the ball needs to be won back.
West has Anna Bosco in the centre, who runs hard both ways, while captain Carlee Ransom has always had a knack for finding the circle’s edge and delivers accurately.
Chelsea Tremelling is the ultimate wing defender, while Charlotte Scott is equally prolific with her defensive and offensive mindsets.
Much will come down to which shooter – Denton or Earl – earns the most scoring opportunities, with the Saints to win in a tight one.
B GRADE – CASTERTON SANDFORD v MILLICENT
THE B Grade competition has been one of the most closely contested this season and the battle for the first grand final spot between Millicent and Casterton Sandford looms as an arm wrestle of epic proportions.
The Saints have two major headaches – tall Cats’ shooter Shelby Nolte, who has got better every game she has played this season and Trictia Cleary, the star goal attack who controls Casterton Sandford’s offence and feeds Nolte with pin-point accuracy.
With rising star Chelsea Hulm also available to take a shooting role, the Cats have no scoring issues whatsoever.
It means the Cats can score at will if enough pressure is not applied by Millicent defenders.
That task will fall to tenacious duo Michelle Fleming and Veronica Duncan, who both have great reach, read the play well and work hard to occupy front spot.
The Saints’ defensive combination will also need pressure applied to he Cats feeders and that task will fall to the likes of skipper Kalli Brown, Krystal Coghlan and Amy-Lee Byrne.
Their match-ups with the likes of Amber Balzan, Kerri Harvey, Anna Whillas and Dakota Crawford will go a long way to deciding the final outcome.
The Cats’ defensive end will be run by Emma Grigg – a tight-checking defender who contests everything.
She has great support from first-time Cat Jess Cousins and teenager Sarah Richardson.
They will need to be relentless in their pressure to force errors from the clinical Millicent frontline as it connects with goalers Nicole Domaschenz – the Saints’ own tall shooter – and Kate Patten and Josie Lang.
Both sides have a simple task – limiting the scoring opportunities for the respective teams’ tall timber.
Whoever does that best will win, with the Cats to go up in a tight contest.