WANL Grand Final: Reserves Preview

Date: Friday, 14 September, 2018
Time: 9.00pm
Venue: Showcourt, State Netball Centre
Hashtag: #WANLGF18
Tickets: At the door

The West Coast Warriors have qualified just one the team for Grand Final day this season, after qualifying all three over the past two years. They will have their work cut out for them against a Coastal Sharks side that will be looking to secure their seventh, yes seventh, consecutive Reserves flag.

The Sharks have taken both games against the Warriors this season, the first by 10 goals in the opening round of the year, while their second meeting in Round 9, was much closer, with the Sharks prevailing by five goals. The Sharks have, however, won just one of their past four games. While this was on semi final weekend and did qualify them for the Grand Final automatically, the Sharks ran into finals with losses to the Flames in Round 12, the Lions in Round 13, and a draw against the Rangers in Round 14. Conversely, the Warriors have won their past four games, including victories over the Lions (Preliminary Final and Round 14), the Rangers (Semi Final), and the Demons (Round 13).

The Warriors have come from fourth place to secure a spot in the Grand Final, beating the Rangers and Lions in the finals series, to set up an enthralling battle against the Sharks. It’s their attack end that has served them best, having scored 615 goals in the regular season, with only the Sharks having outscored them (645 goals). The Warriors have conceded 573 goals, which is the third worst in the League, only the Jets and Demons allowed more, and they finished with three and two wins respectively.

The Sharks scoring power is second to none. Katie Swetman (3rd), Zoe Baxter (9th) and Molly Warne (10th) all sit in the top 10 for most goals scored this season. Swetman has scored 252 goals, Baxter 167 and Warne 161, however their shooting percentages are in the 70s, and converting their opportunities on Friday night will be integral to the result. For the Warriors, Chelsea Broom leads the way with 220 goals at 71%, however Hana Stokes looms as a dark horse, having shot 153 goals at 84% at an average of almost 22 goals per game. Stokes shot 42/50 in Friday’s win over the Lions. The midcourt battles also loom large with Kellie Baker (Warriors) and Ella Sigley (Lions) set to face off in the Centre position.

While the Sharks have had a stranglehold on the Reserves division for a number of years now, the Warriors certainly won’t go down without a fight.

Who’s side are you on?