It’s that time of the year when Netball clubs across South Australia are preparing for the 2018 final series.
Netball SA caught up with associations across the state to find out the clubs playing in the A Grade finals and tips on who will take home the silverware.
Barossa, Light & Gawler Netball Association
Barossa, Light & Gawler Netball Association Secretary Debbie Miles said it’s looking like South Gawler, Barossa, Kapunda and Gawler Central netball clubs will play in the A Grade finals.
“It’s tight at the top of the ladder with both South Gawler and Barossa having lost one game, while Kapunda and Gawler Central both sit on nine wins and five losses,” Debbie, who has held the role of association secretary since 2004, said.
The first week of finals begin on 1 September with the grand finals being played on 22 September and hosted by Gawler Central.
Hills Netball Association
For the Hills Netball Association finals begin on 25 August with grand final day on 8 September hosted by Ironbank Cherry Gardens Netball Club.
Association Secretary Melissa van der Linden said in the Hills League, Crafers are on top of the ladder with 12 wins from 14 games, closely followed by Uraidla and Ironbank Cherry Gardens both on 10 wins.
Following the season end, for the first time the association will be awarding a Rising Star Award to a U21 player from a Hills League team. As well as acknowledging players, the association has also introduced two umpiring awards to recognise umpire excellence.
Kangaroo Island Netball Association
Secretary of Kangaroo Island Netball Association Tracey Boxer said the semi-finals kick off on the first weekend of September with Dudley United and Western Districts, who are positioned first and second on the ladder respectively, going head-to-head on the Saturday. The next day Wisanger and Kingscote will play off.
The grand finals will be held at Dudley on 15 September.
Tracey tipped that it will be a tight contest between Dudley United and Western Districts.
In 2017 the A Grade was won by Wisanger, in 2016 Pardarna and for about 10 years prior Dudley United took the honours.
Western Border Netball Association
Western Border Netball Association heads into another finals series on 18 August with the same four A Grade clubs that have contested the past few years – reigning premiers Millicent and contenders North Gambier, West Gambier and East Gambier.
Association Secretary Di Gould said West and East will clash in the knockout semi-final on 18 August, a game that East has won the past two seasons between the same two sides, with Millicent and North competing for the first spot up for grabs in the grand final on 25 August.
The preliminary final is on 1 September before the premiership title goes on the line on 8 September with East Gambier hosting.
“Millicent is gunning for its 10th successive title, but despite the fact all the contenders lost key players in the off season, they all can challenge Millicent with their best netball,” Di said.
“East almost knocked off Millicent last year when they were leading early before succumbing by six goals, while North Gambier has also made inroads, losing the 2015 decider by an agonising one goal and getting within a couple of goals in last year’s second semi.
“It might be a finals series that again features the usual suspects, but if the last few seasons has taught us anything, it is that the major round always brings tight, engaging contests.”