VNL Grand Finals Preview

21/07/2016 VNL 2016 season Photo: Grant Treeby

After more than 16,000 minutes of action over 18 hotly-contested rounds, the Victorian Netball League 2016 Grand Finals will be held at the State Netball and Hockey Centre this Saturday 27 August.

The action is set to commence from 4pm with the 19/Under Grand Final to be followed by Division One and Championship.


Minor premiers the City West Falcons will be looking for a change of their Grand Final fortune when they take on the Melbourne University Lightning in the Championship division.

The Falcons are looking to avenge for their Grand Final losses in the previous two seasons while the Lightning are out to capatalise on their first finals appearance in five years.

Only four-goals has separated the two sides in their three matches played this season, so fans can expect another close encounter. They last met in the Semi-Final, where the Lightning prevailed 42-41.

Falcons Head Coach Marg Lind believes her team will “need to handle the physicality a lot better than last time” if they want to defeat the Lightning on Saturday.

“They are an aggressive and determined defence, and I do not think we were well prepared for that last time,” said Lind.

Lightning head into the Grand Final with the added bonus of having had a three-week break since their Semi-Final victory, but know they must bring their best against the Falcons.

“It will be about playing to our game plan consistently over four quarters and doing the basics well under pressure,” Lightning Head Coach Elissa Macleod said.

The battle between former Falcons Goal Shooter Kathleen Knott and Victorian Fury Captain Fiona Themann will be one to watch. Knott, a former Melbourne Vixens goaler, has been in superb form this season.

It will be a tough tussle between the experienced duo and one that may prove pivotal.

Key match-ups will also take place in the mid-court with Falcons Wing Attack Maggie Lind set to face off against inform Lightning Wing Defence Elle Bennetts.

The Championship Grand Final is scheduled to commence at 8pm.


Division One
The City West Falcons will be aiming to go back-to-back when they meet the Boroondara Express in the Division One Grand Final.

The Falcons head into the match as the team to beat, having triumphed in their two encounters this season, 48-31 and 54-51.

They face a tough Boroondara outfit who are playing with confidence after defeating the Geelong Cougars and the DC North East Blaze to secure a place in the Grand Final.

Boroondara Goal Shooter Shae Gee’s match-up against Falcons defender Stephanie Boyce shapes as a pivotal clash for both sides.

Boroondara Coach Lyndell Bruce said her team have prepared well and are looking forward to the Grand Final.

“The excitement of making finals and now the Grand Final has driven great training ethic. The team is excited to get out and play and see what they can put out on Saturday,” said Bruce.

The Division One Grand Final is scheduled to commence at 6pm.


The Geelong Cougars will take on the DC North East Blaze in the 19/Under Grand Final.

The Cougars enter the match in stellar form after finishing the regular season undefeated. Their only blemish was a 40-all draw in Round 15 against the Blaze.

The mid-court battle will be where much of the action happens for both sides. Blaze Wing Defence Georgia Harper and Cougars Centre Laura Cayzer will be players to watch.

19/Under Cougars Coach Melanie Savage believes a victory on Saturday would be the “cherry on top” of a great year.

“A Grand Final win would be the cherry on top of a fantastic year for the Geelong Netball Club,” said Savage.

“We have talked as a team about creating history and being the first Geelong team to win a Grand Final. This incredible legacy would never leave them, the relationships they’ve formed, the memories they shared on and off court.”

The 19/Under Grand Final is scheduled to commence at 4pm.


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