Juniors eager to hit court

17 AND UNDER MILLICENT V WEST GAMBIER

It will take some kind of game in the 17 and under grand final to top the overtime preliminary final but these two teams could deliver.

Millicent will rely on the leadership and sheer talent of association best and fairest Lucy Denton, as well as the classy mid-court with the likes of Daisy Tunkin and Paige Lucas running the show. Defensively Portia McRae will be pivotal, especially given it will be her battle with Sarah Ritter that will be one of the match deciding clashes.

West goal attack Zoe Malseed is coming off a strong preliminary final and she will need to reproduce that form at the weekend, while much will rely on the mid-courts smarts of Tara Bryant.

West’s defensive line of Hayley Pearson, Hannah Seidel and Maddie Milich went above and beyond in the preliminary final and will need to reproduce that tight checking effort to stem the Saints scoring.

It would not be a shock if West won but it would be an upset – the Saints to defend their title.

15 AND UNDER A 
MILLICENT V NORTH GAMBIER

The 15 and Under A second semi-final was one of the matches of the day a fortnight ago and this grand final looms large as the association’s best young talent from Millicent and North Gambier face off.

There are enticing match ups all over the court and perhaps the most critical will be in the Millicent shooting circle where Western Border team mates Annelise Janssen (Millicent) and Stella Mobbs (North Gambier) will go head to head.

Janssen has been one of the competition’s big improvers in 2021 and she works well near the post, while Mobbs has the athleticism to trouble her and did force some feeding errors from Millicent in that semi-final.

Injured Millicent goal attack Abby Denton is hoping to be back on court for the title decider and with her in goals out the front of Janssen it is a strong scoring combination.

Lillie Paul and Ella Easterby will be critical in the mid-court and the return of Edie Easterby after missing the semi final, further boosts the Saints ion basically whatever areas of the court Donna Denton chooses to play her.

Lauren Van Eeden is an athletic defender, who along with Maya Tarrant will need to be at her close checking best to stop the quality shooting combination of Cara Nulty and Macey Griffith, who both move well, have great timing and finish accurately.

Ava Collins will be the key for the Tigers mid-court. She was outstanding in the second semi-final and is critical in transition as well as with that last feed into the shooting circle where she connects so perfectly with Nulty and Griffith.

North’s X factor is Tenielle Human, who had a strong semi-final and is the queen of the interception for the Tigers as well as driving hard through the mid court as a key link player.

Her combination with Mobbs in denying Millicent scoring will be a key to the final outcome and given Millicent are adding two class acts to the line-up that won the second semi-final, the Saints should prevail.

15 AND UNDER B 
EAST GAMBIER V CAST/ SANDFORD

The 15 and Under B grand final is the hardest read, given East Gambier has not played a game in this finals series and Casterton Sandford were finally able to hit the court at the weekend to earn their grand final spot.

The Cats have been the benchmark all season and start favourite, especially with the likes of association best and fairest Indi Longhurst controlling the mid court.

Her team mate Phoebe Carlin, who suffered a late game injury but will be right for this weekend and finished runner up in the association medal count, is also a key with her ability to play in both the shooting and defensive circle.

Ivy Lane is as solid as a rock in goals, while Chelsea Hulm stepped up when injected into the game at quarter time and was a real key in the Cats taking control of the preliminary final.

Laura Michelmore is a key in defence for the Cats with her work over the shot and rebounding, while Sarah Richardson is as tenacious as they come and will be critical in creating turnover ball.

East has plenty of talent as well with Ambah Beveridge running the goal attack bib and combining well with either Matilda Lamb or Millie Button, while at the other end Indi Dwyer, Tonique Burford and Tahlia Geraghty are tight checking defenders who will make the Cats earn every possession.

The mid-court of Bridget Facey, Lillie Lamb and Mia Young are all hard running and will need to work hard both with and without ball in hand to get the job done.

Not having played any matches let along tough matches might work against the young Bulldogs and the Cats will win a nailbiter.

13 AND UNDER A 
MILLICENT V NORTH GAMBIER

Millicent and North Gambier faced off in the second semi-final and will now go another round in the grand final and despite a strong first half showing by the Tigers in that semi final, the Saints just seem to have the edge.

In the second semi-final, Kelsie Anderson, Ruby Mitchell and Raine Darmaani really started with a bang in the defensive third and got their hands to plenty of ball, while at the other end goalers Claire Mitchell, who is so strong on the gold and Elodie Adam, who embraces the long shot, were combining well and finding a way through the Saints defence.

But the second half was all the Saints as Eva Crowe and Emily Denton started to get some important touches and deny Claire Mitchell and Adam as much ball and Mia Gysbers and Piper Paul really controlled the mid court, showing better patience with ball in hand to find accurate goalers Mylee Lynch and Ashlee Dean in good scoring position.

The Tigers will depend a lot on the leadership and hard running of Maggie Collins if they are to challenge the Saints for more than just a half but it does appear Millicent just has too many weapons to let this one slip.

13 AND UNDER B
 NORTH GAMBIER V MILLICENT

North Gambier advanced to the 13 and Under B grand final with a solid 10-goal win but if Millicent finishes a little more accurately this will be the tight affair most expected the second semi-final to be.

Megan Wells and Mia Griffith were outstanding in goals for the Tigers and with the hard running Georgia Nulty, who was a joint winner of the association best and fairest, not only feeding the ball but creating turnover ball, the Tigers should enjoy enough supply.

Penny Coleman and Mischa Human are a strong defensive combination for the Tigers and they will snap up any loose pass or missed shot.

For the Saints, join best and fairest winner Tahnee Grosser is a key, as is Kalani Dunn, who is a strong target in the shooting circle.

Poppy Thorne and Asha Gysbers are pivotal players through the mid court, while Jeda Hibberd is a solid defender who just keeps winning the ball back, no matter the scoreline.

This could be a nailbiter but perhaps the Tigers can just hang on.

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