By STEVE MENZIES
It is finals time in the KFC Alice Springs Netball Association with the semi-finals in all grades from the 11-and-under through to the A-Reserves being played at the Pat Gallagher Netball Centre on Saturday.
The day will finish up with KFC A-Grade sides Federal Club Eastside and Rovers Complete Construction warming up for their grand final in two weeks’ time from 4.30pm.
It will be a big day for supporters of the Rovers Netball Club as it will have teams playing from the 11s at 10am to the day’s final games beginning at 4.30pm.
Good games are virtually guaranteed all day as the best teams over the 18-week season pit their talents against the others in the quest for the ultimate prize.
In most grades there was only percentage or one or two winning games separating the teams.
This was not the case in the Club Eastside A-Reserves where Rovers Complete Construction finished six wins ahead of second-placed Neata Glass Giants.
But this seemingly big margin between the sides might not be translated to an easy Rovers win on Saturday.
Rovers suffered injuries to two players, Chloe Southam and Christa Ziem-Dicker, in last week’s game against Giants before the game was called off with Rovers one goal ahead.
Rovers will be hoping the injured duo are available – and classy shooter Suzi Barter who injured her ankle a couple of weeks earlier.
If they are unable to play Rovers will have to call on players from its lower grades or juniors.
Giants is also playing short of numbers and is calling on players from the under-17s.
Even if Barter is unable to play, Rovers is still well served for shooters with Chloe Bethel and Jordann Hickey to net a winning score.
The elimination semi-final is between the two Wests sides, Gillen and Epilogue which finished the minor round with six wins each.
Epilogue will begin the game as favourite due to the shooting of Tiarni Pon, the court craft of Kathleen Axten, hard work of centre Katie Hannah and the defence of Carlee Warburton.
Federal MPH have topped the Yeperenye B-Grade competition all season but had a stumble in the final minor round game, losing to Seasons CADS allowing Seasons Complete Fencing & Steel Sales, its opponent on Saturday, to finish equal on wins.
But the 24 percentage difference is a clear indication of the quality of the Federal team and it should win its way straight to the grand final.
Seasons CADS, if its performance in that final minor round game is repeated, should defeat fourth-placed Rovers, which finished better than five other teams in the grade.
Rovers Complete Construction will begin as favourites in its semi-final against Wests Ward Keller in the B2-Grade as will Federal AKC against Wests.
Loco Burrito which could have played its final last week to win fourth position.
Rovers BnTz is taking winning form into the Trophy Central C-Grade finals after defeating Federal P&V Flames, its opponent on Saturday, to claim top spot.
There was little between Giants Dreamers and Federal Swifts, the opponents in the elimination semi-final, all season and it should be an exciting game on Saturday.
Giants Bark’n’Bathe and Rovers Ravens have been the dominant teams in the two 17-and-under divisions and should win their semi finals against Federal Red and Rovers Raptors respectively.
Seasons ASYASS has the day off after the Wests team withdrew from the competition.
Sundowners Elders Insurance has found some good form late in the season, defeating Rovers Raptors in Round 18m and should win against the young Neata Glass Giants side to earn the right to play on in the finals.
In the 15-and-unders semi-final rivals Seasons ASYASS and Federal Fever finished the minor round equal on 14 wins with third-placed Wests Jaws Contracting two wins further back ahead of Rovers Thunderstruck.
Wests LinkUp has clearly been the best team in the 13-and-under division 1, winning six more games than second-placed Rovers Raiders while there has been nothing between the other two finalists, Rovers Rampage and Federal Flames.
A fierce rivalry has developed between division 2 top two Sundowners Elders Insurance and Seasons R&R Tax + Bookkeeping with Sundowners regaining top position with a win in Round 18 when Seasons had the bye. This semi-final will be a close contest.
Giants Hydrokleen established a clear superiority on Rovers Rebels during the minor round but this is finals and teams are equal at the start of the game.
Seasons Alice Springs Screws Club and Rovers Raptors have clearly been the top two sides in the minor round but both have been proven to be beatable. Sundowners Elders Insurance should be too good for Rovers Fusion in the other semi-final.
It will also be a big day for the youngest netballers as the 8-and-under and 10-and-under netters play in the traditional end-of-season round robin before receiving their medals for the season.
The association presentation night will be held on Friday, September 24 for the presentation of the various awards through the grades. Tickets will be on sale soon.
Players and spectators are urged to use the free parking in the area, including on Undoolya Rd, and not risk a fine by parking on a yellow line.