Clash of the Titans

September 08, 2017

Daylight second: Moama's netball side, led by playing-coach Charlotte Long, will be hard to beat at all as the season progresses.Not challenged for long: Moama continued its dominant Murray Netball League season with an 88-15 drubbing of Rumbalara. Pictured is coach Charlotte Long showing off some of her skills during a break in play.Charlotte Long of Moama during the MFNL A grade netball match between Moama and Rumbalara. Photo by Luke Hemer.

Leading from the front: Tongala playing coach Alicia White.

THE BIGGEST game of the Murray Netball League finals will be played tomorrow at Barooga Recreation Reserve.

Moama Netball Club and Tongala Netball Club have been the standout teams all season and will meet in the second semi-final for the clash of one versus two.

As it stands, each team has won one and lost one to the other during the season, but neither game had as much riding on them as tomorrow’s encounter.

The winner will secure a spot straight in to the big dance — a position Tongala had been in several times before.

‘‘We haven’t focused much on confidence, it’s more about sticking to our game plan and doing all the little things right,’’ Blues’ coach Alicia White said.

‘‘On an individual basis, if each of us beat our opponent we have a chance (tomorrow).

‘‘Our biggest thing is having a good first quarter and being competition from the start.’’

She asked for consistency from every player for the full 15 minutes of each quarter and said they couldn’t afford to drop their heads.

Their patience with the ball saw them get the win over Moama in the previous encounter and White said they will be looking to do the same again.

‘‘For us the game is a free hit regardless of whether we win or lose,’’ White said.

‘‘We’ll try different combinations and see what works and take as many positives out of the game as we can.’’

The Blues had trained as normal this week and weren’t concerned with the week off, much like their opposition.

The Mowers’ coach Charlotte Long said the week off had been good to get everyone’s bodies fit and ready to go.

‘‘We’re more excited than nervous or confident (all the things you usually feel before a final),’’ she said.

‘‘Our defensive pressure all down the court and rebounding has been a focus (in the weeks leading up to the game).

‘‘We should be able to beat Tongala again, but anything can happen in finals and no team is unbeatable as we’ve seen.

‘‘Most of Tongala’s players have played in Murray league finals before and a lot of our girls, while they’ve played in finals for other teams, haven’t had that same experience but it shouldn’t be an issue.’’

Moama aimed to come out firing and hoped the return of Emilly Atkinson will bring a boost to the team.

‘‘She hasn’t played in a while, but she’s a massive asset to our squad and we’re lucky to have her back (for the game),’’ Long said.

‘‘We won’t be counting on her, but she offers a lot more options.

‘‘We’ve been working with a lot of different combinations in the week off and getting those right.’’

Tomorrow’s fallen side will play the winner of the first semi-final between Echuca United and Deniliquin next week.

The first semi-final will be played on Sunday at Numurkah Showgrounds and Eagles’ coach Elle Florance hoped to have corrected things from the previous week’s final before then.

‘‘It was good to get the first week of finals out of the way,’’ she said.

‘‘But we still have a lot of things we need to work on and will be looking forward to getting to training and getting those ironed out.’’

The Eagles have a solid track record when it came to versing Deniliquin in the finals having beaten them in the 2016 preliminary final.

But they will need to bring a higher intensity if they’re to match the Rams, especially with the return of Bec White.

The goal shooter had been crucial in Saturday’s victory over Numurkah and didn’t play in the previous encounter with United which saw the Eagles take a 21-goal win.

‘‘We need to lift our intensity if we’re going to match it with the teams that are still in the finals,’’ Florance said.

‘‘We’re hoping to keep pushing and keep working hard and see how far we can get.’’

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