Old rivals square off in grand final

Taj StubberAlbany Advertiser
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Royals' Sophie Lynch opposed to Magpies 1 in last year’s grand final. The two sides met again in the deicder.
Camera IconRoyals' Sophie Lynch opposed to Magpies 1 in last year’s grand final. The two sides met again in the deicder. Credit: Laurie Benson

For the third successive season, Royals Saints 1 and Magpies 1 will meet in the Albany Netball Association A1 grand final at the Albany Leisure and Aquatic Centre on Saturday.

After finishing minor premiers, Royals Saints advanced straight through to the decider after a six-goal win over Narrikup in their second semifinal clash.

Finishing the regular season in fourth position, Magpies have had to take the long way to the grand final, defeating Railways before knocking off Narrikup in the preliminary final last Saturday.

Magpies are into their fifth grand final appearance in six years while Royals Saints have featured in the last fourth A1 deciders.

Both sides go in with plenty of confidence having split the past two grand finals 1-1.

If the last two years are anything to go off, this season decider should be a thriller after Royals Saints won against Magpies in 2017 in double extratime.

Last year Magpies turned the tables holding off Royals Saints by two goals in a game that went down to the wire again.

Royals Saints have had the upper hand over Magpies this year, defeating them in round one by seven goals and in round eight by the same margin again.

Royals Saints coach Carly Szczecinski, however, isn’t reading much into their head-to-head record this year.

Royals Saints 1 coach Carly Szczecinski.
Camera IconRoyals Saints 1 coach Carly Szczecinski. Credit: Laurie Benson

“We know that finals are a completely different to the regular season so anything can happen on the day,” she said.

“We are expecting a tough contest and high intensity throughout the whole game.”

Szczecinski believes the game will be won in the defensive end.

“I think the game will be won at the defensive ends,” she added.

“The association’s best two goal shooters will be playing at each end so whoever can pacify those key players will win.”

Magpies coach Lisa Goodliffe said her side was looking forward to the big contest.

Magpies 1 coach Lisa Goodliffe.
Camera IconMagpies 1 coach Lisa Goodliffe. Credit: Laurie Benson

“We both have new and young players in our teams which makes things interesting, it’s going to be a great game,” Goodliffe said.

“It is very doable, to win as long as we play smart and strong for four quarters.

“We have to shut down well and the whole side needs to bring their A-game and work tirelessly throughout the whole court.”

Both sides will go in with their full strength squad with no injuries to worry about.

The grand final starts at 3.15pm on court six.

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