By STEVE MENZIES
All six Alice Springs Netball Association clubs had at least one winning team from the 10 grades which played preliminary finals on Saturday.
Possibly the most impressive was Wests Epilogue in the Club Eastside A-Reserves, as it continued its climb from bottom of the table mid-season to be a genuine premiership contender.
This resurgence is due to two related factors: having a settled team and the inclusion of three KFC A-Grade players – Carlee Warburton, Kathleen Axten and Katie Hannah – after the club withdrew its team from the peak competition.
Wests defeated Neata Glass Giants, which had her sat comfortably in second position all season, 49-21.
Axten, playing goal attack, used all her experience to drift around the centre and attack thirds as an extra player in these areas and set up many forward moves. She also shot 18 goals in support of star shooter Tiarni Pon.
Giants coach Bell tried three players against her during the game in an attempt to curb Axten’s influence on the contest.
The game was virtually decided in the first term when Wests powered from 5-3 after minutes to 11-4 five minutes and to lead 16-5 after the first 15-minute period.
It never got any better for Giants, although the players never stopped trying, as Wests led 30-11 and 39-18 at the next two breaks.
Giants did have two winning teams on the day in 17-and-under division I and 13-and-under division II.
Only Seasons with three won more while Federal also won two. Wests, Sundowners and.Rovers won one each.
Giants 17s defeated Seasons ASYASS 40-35 to earn the right to defend the minor premiership in the grand final.
Twelve goals to Elizabeth Johnson in the first quarter put Giants on the path to lead 13-4 at quarter time. But it was not easy from there as Seasons mounted a serious challenge.
The two teams went goal for goal in the second term before Seasons reduced the margin to five in the third as it won the term 13-9.
Seasons maintained the pressure in the final term but, as good sides do, Giants steadied to retain bits five-goal lead at the final whistle.
Giants Hydrokleen won its 13-and-under division II preliminary final against Sundowners Elders Insurance 29-10.
Leading 6-3 at the first break, Giants put its authority on the game with 12 goals to two in the second quarter and did not let up in the third.
Despite trailing by 20 goals at the final change, the young Sundowners players kept trying and outscored Giants in the final term.
Seasons Alice Springs Screws Club got the newest ASNA club to a winning start to the day with a 14-12 victory against Rovers Fusion in the 11-and under grade.
It led at every change and withstood a Rovers’ comeback to move into next week’s grand final.
Seasons ASYASS 15-and-under team won the closest game of the day _ an extra time thriller against Wests Jaws Contracting.
It led by nine goals at quarter time but Wests fought back by half time to reduce the margin to two.
Seven goals each in the third quarter meant the game was set for either to win and at full time they were level at 35-each.
Seasons won the first extra seven-minute period by two goals before shooting out to a six-goal lead halfway through the second.
But Wests were not done and fought back to cut the margin to two, 48-46, at the final whistle.
Seasons was always going to win the B-Grade preliminary final between sister teams.
In the end Seasons Complete Fencing and Steel Sales defeated Seasons CADS 44-40.
A series of missed opportunities by Wests Ward Keller in the fourth quarter, after leading 31-29 at three-quarter time, enabled Federal AKC to snatch a 40-37 victory in B2-Grade.
It was an even contest until the final term when Federal scored 11 goals to six.
Two Federal teams played off in the C-Grade preliminary final with Federal P&V Flames defeating Federal Swifts 45-30.
Sundowners Elders Insurance, which finished the minor round in third place, repeated its late season win against Rovers Raptors in 17-and-under division II with a 26-23 victory,
Senen goals to goal shooter Brianna Lorkin powered Sundowners to a 10-goal third quarter and a 21-13 lead at the final change,
Rovers hit back with 19 goals in the final term but Sundowners scored five goals to hang onto the victory.
An unchanged Rovers Raiders line-up from first whistle to last overcame Federal Flames in the 13-and-under division I preliminary final for a 34-26 victory.
In comparison, Federal rotated nine players through the course of the game but Rovers increased its lead every quarter.