Royals Saints out to avenge last year’s loss

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Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser

Royals Saints 1 will be out to break a six-year premiership drought when they contest the 2017 Albany Netball Association A1 grand final against Magpies 1 at Albany Leisure and Aquatic Centre on Saturday afternoon.

After finishing minor premiers, Royals Saints marched straight to the grand final after a three-goal win over Magpies in the second semifinal and will be out to claim their first premiership since 2010.

In 2010, Royals Saints were successful against Narrikup 2, 41-30, which at the time was their third A1 title in four seasons, but none of that premiership side remain in the current team.

Royals Saints coach Chrissie Smith said her side were gunning to make up for last year’s 14-goal grand final loss.

“The girls were in the grand final last year and are eager to go one step better,” Smith said.

“They have been there before, so a grand final is not something new.

“We have a nice mixture with our group and Royals have always pushed younger players up into the A1 grade and this is reward for the hard work they have put in.”

Little has separated the two sides this season, with Royals Saints winning the second semifinal and their round 3 clash (39-37) while in round 10 the sides drew 35 apiece.

“The two teams are fairly even,” Smith said.

“I think it will be down to who’s willing to tough it out more — it will be a pretty physical game.

“Magpies have been the big improver over the season, but you have to take those opportunities and deliver at the end to win.”

Magpies will be chasing their second premiership in three seasons after securing their maiden A1 triumph in 2015 when they thrashed Kangas 1 by 20 goals.

They bounced back from their second semifinal loss to defeat Kangas 1 in last week’s preliminary final by three goals and Magpies coach Rosemary Wolter expected a very tight decider.

“I’ve only got two girls that have played in a previous A1 grand final,” Wolter said.

“But they have come together as a team very well and we have great flexibility.

“It will come down to composure and teamwork — which team remains composed.”

The two sides will be full strength for the grand final, which starts at 3.15pm.

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