Bupa VNL 2019 Grand Final preview

One final match. One final chance. One final go. After 5 months of competitive netball at the Bupa Victorian Netball League, we come to the conclusion of a season that has been a roller coaster to say the least.

On Wednesday 14 August, six Bupa VNL teams will step on the courts of the State Netball and Hockey Centre in the last stand to decide who will become 2019 premiers.

With rematches, old rivalries and the chance for history to be made, this year is set to be unlike any other Grand Final series. 

Championship

With Championship front runners City West Falcons being knocked out of the race to reclaim their premiership title, it now stands as anyone’s game as Geelong Cougars face off against Casey Demons.

Both teams had different paths to the Grand Final and will be driven by different motivations.

Geelong will be looking to correct history after being in the same position last year to fall short against City West. One of the leading competitors over the court of the season, they dominated in their Semi Finals match to move straight through to the Grand Final. This match replicated many we have seen this year and solidified the notion that Cougars really are the team to beat. 

Casey Demons, having never experienced a VNL Grand Final, have come out in their inaugural year to shake the competition and have their voices heard as a team to be feared. Every match up until now has contributed to their history in the making, and with a premiership on the table, it seems nothing will stop Casey’s players, members and fans. It hasn’t been an easy run for Casey to secure this Grand Final spot, their wins and losses fluctuating over the season. However, since commencing their finals campaign, the abilities have lifted. 

From the players:

“It’s really exciting to be in this years grand final. We made our first championship grand final last year and unfortunately lost, so it’s great to be back again this year and a great reward for effort over the last year.

“Over the past few years I think we have shown we have great strength across all divisions – to have all 3 teams in finals again this year shows the talent we have coming through the ranks, as well as the hours of work our coaches have put in to get us to this position.

“Casey are great competitors and I’m sure it’s going to be a tough game! They had a relatively convincing win over Falcons in the prelim and are in great form. We did have the 2 wins against them during the season but finals is a completely different ball game. As a team we just need to stick to our structures, we don’t need to do anything fancy”. Mel Bragg, Geelong Cougars

 “It’s a pretty great effort from everyone involved, the girls out on the court, the coaching staff and the administration staff to actually put this all together. The fact that we have done this is pretty special I think. 

“We obviously played cougars in the rounds and lost, so we will be looking at that and just figuring out what our game plan needs to be and what we need to do differently to get on top of them this time.” – Erin Bell, Casey Demons

8.30pm – Geelong Cougars v Casey Demons – Court 1

Division One

After overcoming the 2018 premier and runners up sides in the first two rounds of finals, Boroondara Express will come up against Division One favorites North East Blaze Wednesday night.

Neither teams have fought in a Grand Final for a number of years but as of 2019, each club stands at one win each against each other.

With two elimination games to make the Grand Final, Boroondara have had a more difficult road to get to where they are. Finishing in fourth place at the end of the season, Express needed to defeat the highly-ranked Hawks Netball in the Semi Final, before scraping across the line in the Preliminary Final to beat Geelong Cougars by a single goal.

We can expect the premiership title for Division One to come down to individual match ups of Boroondara and Blaze. Their strength in each third is as solid as the other so we can expect the conversion of turnovers to also influence the end result. 

From the players:

“We are all very excited to be in this years grand final. We started the season with lots of new faces. The way we have come together as a team and improved during the season has been really exciting to watch. It’s a great reward for all of our hard work but our job isn’t done yet.

“This means so much to us as a club. We pride ourselves on being one club and we really are one big family. We wouldn’t be in next weeks grand final without all of the help and support of everyone at the club. Blaze is such a special club to be a part of and we just hope we can do everyone proud next week no matter what the result.

“Boroondara are a great side and we know that it’s going to be a tough game. To become premiers we need to stick to our game plan for 60 minutes. We can’t afford to drop off at any stage.”  Sam Coppinger, North East Blaze

“This is bloody amazing! Who would have thought that with our last few rounds and the way we were playing that we would make it to the Grand Final. We will be working as hard as we have all season at training to prepare and show Blaze what Boroondara is made of and knock them off the top. 

“It’s onwards and upwards from here!” – Emma Wallmeyer, Boroondara Express

7pm – North East Blaze v Boroondara Express – Court 4

19 & Under Female 

Peninsula Waves have already made history as the first 19 & Under team in their club’s history to make it in to a Grand Final. Stopping them from becoming the first team in their club’s history to become premiers will be City West Falcons who fought hard in the Preliminary Final to make their way back into the Grand Final.

Falcons out to prove a point after their Semi Finals lost, dominated in the Preliminary Final against Geelong Cougars to claim an 18 goal win and set up for an intense Grand Final. 

These two teams are as even as it gets, finishing as the top 2 sides in their division at the end of the rounds. This will be a Semi Finals rematch to finally split the two, something fans have been waiting for. 

From the players:

“To be in this year’s Grand final asserts the team and each individual athlete that they have the skill set to be a part of team, that has a shot at being named the 2019 premieres.

“The acronym in the name waves is a reflection about us a club, we all value excellence in sport and from the very start of our preseason we all strive to honour these words.

“Achieving a spot in the Grand Final, shows that the little things that Peninsula Waves values in sport, such as friendships, personal excellence and health in all areas are all important steps. Ultimately these are the underlying reasons why 19’s has the opportunity to make history.”  Abuk Kenyang, Peninsula Waves

“I am unbelievably happy and just utterly proud of all the girls. 

“Coming up against Waves it will just be the same as this week really. We will play our own game. Last time we versed them we let them control our play. Next week we will be coming out with confidence and play for each other like we have all season.

“There’s also no doubt our crowd will give us an edge next week because Falcons are known to be loud and it was definitely what got us over the line last week.” – Emma Walters, City West Falcons 

6.50pm – Peninsula Waves v City West Falcons- Court 1

 

Make sure to head to the State Netball and Hockey Centre for a Grand Final you won’t want to miss! There will be grand stand seating on all courts.

SNHC entry fees for spectators:

Adults – $10

Concession – $7

Young Person – $5

Family (2 Adults & 2 Young Persons) – $25