Nirranda has its eyes firmly set on redemption.
The Blues were defeated by Dennington in last year’s Warrnambool and District league A grade netball decider but when their chance for redemption in finals came about they did not step back.
A 54-45 second semi-final victory over the reigning premier ensured the Blues secured their spot in the grand final for a second year in a row.
Nirranda A grade coach Steph Townsend said the disappointment of last season was driving the Blues’ 2018 charge towards flag success.
“The win gives us confidence and we have the week off now so we will regroup and refocus and it will work in our favour,” she said.
“Second year in a row and we want to go one better than last year.
“We have girls who self-sacrifice and know the position we are in and I guess it makes my job really hard and also easy knowing that they understand that we do want to go one better than last year.”
Townsend said the key to keeping the Dogs at bay came back to team goals.
“We set ourselves little goals and it was pretty much quarter by quarter, ball by ball, centre pass by centre pass and I really put an emphasis on our one per centers,” she said.
“I thought that really got us over the line. There was a lot of self-sacrificing, where there were girls who only got on for a half and one of the girls only got on for a little bit of a quarter.
“So that to me shows they they are team players and they understand the position that the team is in.”
We set ourselves little goals and it was pretty much quarter by quarter, ball by ball, centre pass by centre pass...Nirranda's Steph Townsend
Dennington’s Melissa Burt was disappointed in the loss post-match.
“Credit to Nirranda, they forced us to throw away a lot of balls,” she said.
“That margin was very disappointing as we had the same amount of ball as Nirranda and we just didn’t use it as well as they did.
“We made a lot of mistakes and they didn’t give the ball away and there is lots to learn from that game, which is one positive.”
Burt said she would let the loss stew and use it as fuel to feed the Dogs’ desires again.
“I think we will leave a couple of days for it to sink in first and then come back from there,” she said.
“But we have a lot of work to do ahead of Saturday.”
The playing coach said her side was patchy at times.
“I think everyone had good patches and I wouldn’t say there was any standouts,” she said.
“Everyone had brilliant patches and everyone has bits of their game they need to work on.”
Nirranda’s two goalers in Townsend (37 goals) and Sophie Adams (17) were named in the best players on the court alongside centre Jo Couch.
Dennington defender Krisite Bolden was the Dogs’ best player, while Lana Keane (21 goals), Burt (seven) and Jess Haberfield (17) shot well.
Both coaches agreed the semi-final was a physical encounter which was typified by a number of spills from both sides at Mack Oval.