Sunbury Lions will be out in force at Saturday’s Ballarat Netball League grand final day.
Having already had two teams, C and D grade, qualify for the grand finals, the Lions’ A and B grade teams joined the party on Saturday with strong wins in the preliminary finals.
It means only their under-19s, which didn’t play finals, won’t be in the grand final.
Head coach Adam Boldiston said it was a huge achievement for the club.
“We’re building strength in our squad and we’ve shown a bit more depth,” he said.
“I’ve tried to impart as much knowledge as I can through all five teams. Even our under-19s which has always struggled a bit, won three or four games and had marked improvement this year.”
On Saturday, in the preliminary final against Redan, the A-grade team had a point to prove, coming off its first loss for the season against North Ballarat City.
The Lions meant business early on and managed to build, winning 48-34
“We got off to a good start and managed to win all four quarters. It’s been a while since we did that against one of the top sides,” Boldiston said. “We still had some lapses, but it was a lot better than last week.”
Boldiston said the improvement came from across the whole court. Chloe Curran (33 goals) and Ruth Smith (15 goals) both shot at 79 per cent apiece. Defenders Ashleigh Hardy and Monique Clark were named the Lions’ best.
Boldiston said the A-grade side, which again faces North Ballarat City in the grand final, is really switched on.
“The girls wanted to win this week,” he said. “They weren’t happy with their performance last week and it didn’t sit well with them.
“There’s lots of excitement around the club and hopefully we can come home with the wins.”
The B-grade side, which is going for a fourth straight premiership, had to come from behind after a slow start. Once in front, it held on to the lead, winning, 59-50. Boldiston said it had to work hard for the win.
“Ballarat were two goals in front at quarter-time. We then kicked into gear and started attacking a lot better.
“Amanda Cusack shot 49 goals, which is a huge volume for her. It’s because of the good service into the circle she had the opportunities.”
The B-grade side will play Lake Wendouree in the grand final for a third year. The Lions and Lakers will also face off in the C and D grade grand finals.