Jacks OPD through to premier final

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Jacks OPD are through to the premier club netball final at Saxton Stadium this Saturday, but it will have to wait until Thursday’s minor semi-final to see whether it will be Prices or Richmond it will face.

Semi-finals were played for all grades at Saxton Stadium on Saturday, and there were a number of intense battles for a berth in next week’s finals.

All grades, excluding Premier, have a 1 v 4 and 2 v 3 format with the winners progressing to the final. The elite grade has a minor and major semi-final with 1 v 2, with the winner advancing to the final while the loser plays the winner of the 3 v 4 in the major semi on Thursday night.

Prices Pharmacy A and Stoke NBS fought out a rugged encounter in the 3 v 4 minor semi-final, with Prices having a 27–23 lead at the major break. Stoke fought back to win the second half 31–28, however Prices had the final say when Shar Lowe nailed the final goal with seconds on the clock. The stand out player on court was Stoke captain Megan Thomson, who scored 41 from 43 for a 95 per cent average.  She was on the end of a number of long range, precision feeds and at times was asked to take some difficult ball.

Jacks OPD entered their 1 v 2 major semi-final as favourites against Richmond Glass, who were without the services of Lisa and Amiee Book.

While Richmond still had a wealth of skill and experience on court they were no match for the in-form green team.

The Jacks shooters were receiving an abundance of stress-free ball and were converting at will (86 per cent), and while the Richmond shooters were not far behind (80 per cent) they were not getting the same opportunities in the 73–35 result.

With Jacks claiming one berth in the final, it is now down to Richmond and Prices to fight it out for the second. The teams have shared the spoils in the competition with Prices claiming the first round win and Richmond the second. Richmond had a “patchy” first round, however in the last three games of the regular season they have “hit their strides”.

Richmond has filed Saturday’s game and will look to come out as a very different unit. Richmond believes they have “got the goods”, they will re-group and play like it is their final.  Lisa will anchor the mid court and provide the link through court, while Kat Jones will lead the defensive end. Kathleen Thornalley and Amiee are an effective shooting duo, while Kim Starnes could also don a shooting bib.

After a perfect record of 12 wins from 12 games, Prices stumbled to loose the final two games in regular competition before defeating Stoke. Coach Mandy Whiting has a versatile lineup with four accomplished shooters, a plethora of options in the mid court, and a couple of options in the defensive circle.

While Chelsea Brooks got the nod as the starting goal shoot, Shar Lowe certainly played her way into contention with her contribution on Saturday. Mahina Selby-Law can play at either end of the court, however she has put in some commendable performances at goal attack.

Thursday’s game could go right down to the wire, however, if Jacks put in another clinical performance like Saturday neither Richmond or Prices are likely to come close… but anything can happen in finals netball.