By STEVE MENZIES
There will be cheers and tears at the Pat Gallagher Netball Centre tomorrow as 20 teams face off in their final chance to reach the ultimate game – the grand final.
There was an error in recording the result of the C-Grade elimination final last week, which has been corrected, with Federal Swifts winning the game against Giants Dreamers and will be playing on Saturday.
It is the preliminary final week with 10 teams keeping their hopes of a premiership alive. Some professional sports have labelled the preliminary finals as the harshest, and hardest to win, of all finals.
All six clubs have teams in the preliminary finals with Seasons having the most with five teams in action followed by Federal with four, Rovers, Wests and Giants with three each and Sundowners two.
Among them are four minor premiers which lost their semi-finals and will be anxious for another chance to show their ability.
They are Seasons Alice Springs Screws Club (11-and-under), Sundowners Club Eastside (13-and-under division II), Seasons ASYASS (15-and-under) and Giants Bark’n’Bath (17-and-under division I).
Swifts is one of four teams which finished the minor round in fourth position to win their elimination semi-final and have a crack at reaching the ultimate goal.
The others are Wests Epilogue (A-Reserves), Federal Flames (13-and-under division II) and Rovers Fusion (11-and-under).
These teams go into the preliminary in good form but come against teams that were good enough to end the minor round in second position except for Rovers Fusion in the 11-and under grade that will face minor premier Seasons Alice Springs Screws Club.
Winning form is good form so the teams which progressed from the elimination final will have that advantage on the teams coming off a loss but the gap between fourth and first in the minor round could be too great for Rovers to overcome.
The results have turned up sister teams contesting two of the finals – Federal P&V Flames and Federal Swifts in C-Grade and Seasons Complete Fencing & Steel Sales against Seasons CADS in B-Grade.
The season’s results indicate Flames will be too strong for Swifts with Seasons Complete Fencing having an edge over CADS.
There was little between Wests Ward Keller and Federal AKC in B2-Grade so this game could go either way.
After finishing the Club Eastside A-Reserves in fourth position, Wests Epilogue has a great chance to reach the premiership playoff by defeating Neata Glass Giants on Saturday.
Giants was second for most of the season but struggled in the latter part while Wests gained strength with the inclusion of three players from its defunct KFC A-Grade team.
As good players as Kathleen Axten, Katie Hannah and Carlee Warburton are, the main threat to Giants is the goal scoring of Wests shooter Tiarni Pon.
While the Giants goal keeper could be Robyn Campbell or Anne Wilson with possibly Andriette Erasmus in support at goal defence it will be up to Giants centre court to reduce the amount of ball that gets fed into Pon.
But that will be easier said than done with Hannah a driving force for Wests in her role at centre.
The match of the day could easily be the 17-and-under Division I game between minor premier Giants Bark’n’Bath and Seasons ASYASS.
Giants has headed the division all season but lost its past couple of games, including the semi final, to Federal Red while Seasons enjoyed a week off last week
Rovers Raptors appear too strong for the gallant Sundowners Elders Insurance in Division II although the latter had a narrow win against Rovers in the final minor round.
The 15-and-under minor premier, Seasons ASYASS, has a chance at redemption after losing its semi-final last week when it plays Wests Jaws Contracting on Saturday.
Again the season’s results are the best guide with Seasons favoured to win the preliminary final.
The two 13-and-divisions have been unpredictable all season with the at its best on any given day likely to win any close contest.
Rovers Raptors should account for Federal Flames in Division I as should minor premier Sundowners Club Eastside against Giants Hydrokleen in Division II.
Games begin at 11am with the 11-and-under and 13-and-under division II and continue until the A-Reserves and B-Grade finals at 4.30pm. This means the games will finish at about 5,45pm.
The Alice Springs Netball Association has announced the KFC A-Grade final will be an evening game beginning at 6pm on Saturday, September 18 with games beginning at 10.30am.
Presentations for the 17-and-under grades through to A-Grade will follow the A-Grade final. The junior presentations (11, 13 and 15-and-under grades) will be held at about 1pm after the four grade play.
Tickets for the awards night, to be held at Club Eastside from 6.30pm on Friday, September 24, are available online at eventbrite or the link on the ASNA facebook page for $40 adults and $25 for 12-and-under children. The price includes a two-course dinner and entertainment by M&M Music. The awards presentation is planned to begin at 7.30pm.