By STEVE MENZIES
It is a special day for netball on Saturday quite apart from being the final week of the minor round before finals.
This will be the first Umpire Appreciation Round promoting the magnificent job that the umpires do each week.
Their commitment and willingness to volunteer their time allows 41 games of netball to be played each week without a hitch.
In addition to promoting the umpires, the Alice Springs Netball Association would also like to use Umpire Appreciation Round as a tool to promote and encourage the values of sportsmanship, respect and enjoyment between all coaches, players, and officials.
Players are being asked to wear a white ribbon (which is being supplied) in their hair and captains will make a presentation to the umpires of their games before they play.
While the top sides for the finals have been decided in most grades, there are positions to play for and Wests Loco Burrito can win the B2-Grade fourth place by defeating Rovers Spritzers on Saturday.
There is a theoretical chance for Federal Office National Angels to win through to the Club Eastside A-Reserves finals – but it will take two upsets for this to happen.
The first is for bottom side Federal Club Eastside to defeat current fourth-placed Wests Gillen, While Federal is a better side than its ladder position suggests, Wests should be too experienced for the youngsters who make up the Federal team.
A bigger upset would be Angels defeating the top KFC A-Grade team Federal Club Eastside.
The match-of-the-day could be the clash between the top two A-Reserves teams _ Rovers Complete Construction and Neata Glass Giants even though Giants has struggled of late. It improved its centre court play last week.
There is an interesting scenario in the Yeperenye B-Grade where top-side Federal MPH is two points (one win) ahead of Seasons Complete Fencing & Steel Deals which is two points ahead of Seasons CADS.
Seasons Complete Fencing can go equal top, on points, by defeating fifth placed Wests Jaws Contracting and CADS defeats MPH.
If Wests defeats Seasons and CADS overcomes MPH, the two Seasons teams will be locked together on points in second position.
In the Trophy Central C-Grade, competition leader Federal P&V Flames will play challenger Rovers BnTz with the winner claiming top position.
It will not make much difference for the finals as they will play each in the semi final next week regardless of the result.
Third-placed Giants Dreamers should defeat Sundowners Gap View Hotel to consolidate its position while fourth-placed Federal Swifts fad the round off.
An interesting game could be between Wests Jaws Contracting and Neata Glass Giants with neither having won enough games through the season to make the top four.
Top 17-and-under Division 1 team Giants Bark’n’Bath will play second-placed Federal Red and Seasons ASYASS tackles Wests LinkUp in dress rehearsals for next week’s semi finals.
In Division 2, third-placed Sundowners Elders Insurance plays second-placed Rovers Raptors while top-side Rovers Ravens plays Neata Glass Giants.
Netball action begins at 9am with the eight and 10-and-under grades before the 11-and-unders at 10am, the 13-and-unders at 11am and the 15-and unders at noon with the Thorny Devils All=Abilities team also playing from noon.
PHOTO: Giants vs Federal Angels A res. Jay Scott-Hunter.