By STEVE MENZIES
The seemingly never ending KFC Alice Springs Netball Association season comes to its climax with the 11 grades playing their grand finals tomorrow.
It all begins with the 11-and-under and 13-and-under division II finals at 10.30am and continues through the grades to the A-Grade at 6pm.
All six ASNA clubs have at least one team playing. Rovers heads the list with seven grand finalists, Federal has six. Seasons four, Giants and Wests have two each and Sundowners has one.
All the minor premiers except Sundowners Club Eastside in the 13-and-under division II have won through to the grand final – six by the direct route from the semi-final and three from the preliminary final.
The match-of-the-day is the KFC A-Grade between Rovers Complete Construction and Federal Club Eastside – the two teams that have dominated netball winning every premiership since 2005.
Federal will be playing for a record seven consecutive A-Grade titles.
Captain Tahlia Lee is the only player who has been a player in all the wins while Deb Grey has been the coach.
Lee said the team on Saturday would be full strength with all 19 players “really invested” in the quest.
“We have a lot of different options across the court,” she said.
“Even on the bench we have players who can come on and play a variety of roles.
“It has been a long and challenging season and we are level with Rovers at four-all so this will be a fitting decider.
“We will deal with whatever comes.”
An example of Federal’s versatility is veteran Crystal Dixon who can play in any position on the court and has been used by Grey in most during the season.
The Federal 10 also includes Katelyn Paterson, Phoebe Wilcox, Dana Schembri, Simone Tribe, Brooke and Carly Wilson, Matilda Baldwin and Ellie Herbert.
They will be against a Rovers team with questions about who will fill the vital shooter position to support Molly Southam.
Coach Leanne Southam has played four players in the position to replace the injured Piper Nicolai – Wendy Stafford, Suzi Barter, Jordann Hickey and Chloe Bethel.
Stafford is the first choice before she had to leave mid-season but is reported to have returned for this game Netball grand final preview, Barter is injured while Hickey and Bethel have a Club Eastside A-Reserves grand final being played immediately before the KFC A-Grade.
Captain Shannan King is confident her team will be able to bring the pressure needed for success,.
There is an old sport saying: If your opponent never scores you will never lose, if you score you may win.
“It is going to be a good match,” she said.
“We will be at full strength. They always turn up – as do we.
“Our strength is the ability to apply defensive pressure right down the court.”
Rovers has Tacey Meekings and Meagan McLure in the defensive circle with Lucy Nicolai and Lauren Parai applying pressure from the centre third.
This is one of three grand final clashes between the two powerhouse clubs of the association.
Presentations for all senior grades (from 17-and-under to A-Grade) will be made after the game.
Leading into the A-Grade grand final are the grand finals in the other 10 grades of the KFC Alice Springs Netball Association – all important in their own right.
They begin with the 11-and-under grade where minor premier Seasons Alice Springs Screws Club will be out to avenge its semi-final defeat at the hands of Rovers Raptors.
These two sides have been neck-and-neck all season and Seasons will be hoping for a better first quarter than in its semi-final loss.
At the same time in the 13-and-under division II decider, Giants Hydrocleen will be one of three teams that finished third at the end of minor round hoping for a win on the final day.
It will be up against Seasons R&R Tax + Bookkeeping which finished the minor round two wins ahead and will begin favourite for the final.
Wests LinkUp will be out to continue its dominance of the 13-and-under division I grade where it finished the minor round six wins clear of its nearest opponent Rovers Raiders, its opponent on Saturday.
In the 15-and-under grade, Federal Fever and Seasons ASYASS have had an even battle during the minor round with Seasons ending on top.
This was reversed in their semi-final when Federal was by a comfortable 10 goals. But Saturday is the day that matters most,
There are diddering scenarios in the two 17-and-under divisions.
In division II the dominating team through the minor round, Rovers Ravens, will play the team that finished the minor round in third place Sundowners Elders Insurance.
Nine wins separated the two teams at the end of the minor and while Sundowners effort to reach the grand final is good, it will be a big underdog on Saturday.
In division I Federal Red upset top-side Giants Bark’n’Bath in the semi-final.
Giants had been clearly the better side during the minor round although Federal has won the past two clashes between the two sides.
Minor premiers in the Trophy Central C-Grade, Rovers BnTz, and B2-Grade, Rovers Complete Construction, will be hoping to take that final success on Saturday.
It will be an interesting tussle for BnTz as it plays Federal P&V Flames, which finished the minor round in second position.
Federal AKC has won its way from third into the grand final but may find the minor premier too strong on Saturday.
A powerful final term by Federal MPH earned it victory against Seasons Complete Fencing & Steel Sales in their semi-final but will not want to leave so late to take the initiative in Saturday’s Yeperenye B-Grade grand final.
But it will begin favourite.
Wests Epilogue has come from fourth to reach the Club Eastside A-Reserves grand final against run-away minor premier Rovers Complete Construction,
But losing players up to its A-Grade team, and the season ending injury to Chloe Southam has hurt the Rovers chances.
Wests has come good at the right time of the year – and it has not all been due to the inclusion of A-grades Carlee Warburton, Katie Hannah and Kathleen Axten.
But they have certainly helped Tarlya Fishook and Tarni Pon lift Wests from fourth to the premiership playoff.
There will be extra time played in all grades if the scores are level at the end of four quarters.
All games are on courts 2 and 3 inside the stadium.
Tickets for the end-of-season gala night, the awards presentation, are available on-line at Eventbrite or the ASNA facebook page. All are welcome.
The cost of $40 for adults and $25 for children includes a two-course meal and entertainment from MM Music.