PICOLA United Football Netball Club will have six teams marching into the big dance at Blighty tomorrow with the 2017 premiership title in their sights.
Three football teams and three netball teams have made their respective grand finals in the Picola and District League with both the seniors and reserves looking to go back-to-back.
Head coach Jon Varcoe said the excitement was felt by everyone at the club, especially those players still around from the 2016 premiership side.
‘‘There’s around eight or nine different players from last year’s seniors and quite a few in the reserves,’’ he said.
‘‘If we prepare well enough and play our best on the day there’s no reason we can’t win.
‘‘It’s not going to be easy, but we’ve set up a winning culture at the club and will be aiming to do that this weekend.’’
Both seniors and reserves will each be playing Strathmerton in their respective grand finals, the same team which lost to United’s seniors in 2016.
‘‘The reserves have had to overcome some hurdles with injuries this year, but have performed well throughout the year and have been training strongly as a squad with the seniors,’’ Varcoe said.
‘‘The club hasn’t seen a great deal of success in terms of its footy teams in previous years and we’re at a point now where the solid family, team-first environment we’ve created off the field is starting to come together in on-field success.
‘‘Strathmerton has good movement and a lot of quality players, but if we can execute our game plan we’ll give ourselves a great chance.’’
The thirds will be squaring off against Jerilderie tomorrow and while they go in as underdogs coach Taylor Beard was optimistic.
‘‘We’ve played Jerilderie three times this year and lost all three, but we’ve been the closest to them by far,’’ he said.
‘‘We take a lot of confidence out of the last time we played and hopefully the boys can string together four really good quarters to get the win.
‘‘A lot played in last year’s runner-up grand final team and know what it’s like to lose, hopefully that will drive them this year to get the reward.’’
On the netball front, C grade was the only senior team to make it through to the grand final playing Jerilderie tomorrow.
C grade finished on top of the ladder with 14 wins and two losses, but had to earn their place in the big dance after losing the qualifying final Jerilderie by 20 goals.
Coach Maree Holyman said the week off meant they were slow off the mark, but the team had built plenty of momentum going into tomorrow’s game.
They downed Tocumwal by seven goals in the preliminary final and will look to come out firing against the Dees.
‘‘We’ll be looking to redeem ourselves (tomorrow),’’ Holyman said.
‘‘The girls have it in them to win, but we need to have four solid quarters and come out firing.’’
The under 15s and under 13s were through to the big showdown, playing Tocumwal and Blighty respectively.
Both teams finished second on the ladder this year, only dropping two games each, and will play against the top sides in tomorrow’s clash at Blighty.
Coach Nicole McKenzie said the under 15s were coming off a bit of a lull but had picked themselves up and were building momentum in the right way into grand final.
‘‘The girls have been improving all the way along in skill level and team work,’’ she said.
‘‘Tocumwal will be a tough game really, they have a lot of talented girls and a tall shooter who will give us a headache.
‘‘But we’re quietly confident going into (tomorrow), playing some of our best netball for the season.’’
Under 13s coach Emma Greaves said her team had performed consistently all year.
‘‘We haven’t been able to beat Blighty yet this year, but in the last final we only went down by two goals,’’ she said.
‘‘We were even with them in the last quarter and we’re definitely a chance to win (tomorrow).’’