IT’S height versus experience.
Sunday’s O and M netball grand final has divided fellow coaches — those in the Yarrawonga camp favouring their experience, those for the Panthers believing they are too big, too fast, too strong.
The Pigeons haven’t beaten the Panthers all year but Sunday’s squad will include Hannah Symes and Janna Tait.
Neither has played in the two losses to Lavington.
Corowa-Rutherglen coach Beck Didier said the Panthers can be unbeatable.
But she said the Pigeons’ Bridget Cassar could be the key to the outcome.
“I know people will want to tip Yarra because of their experience and their height, but if Lavington has a good day they are unstoppable,” Didier said.
“They also have two great shooters instead of just the one option.
“But whoever marks Bridget Cassar will have their hands full — she is tall and uses her body so well to get in under the net.
“Cassar also has surprisingly quick feet — one second you have her out of play and the next she has peeled off and is right beside you.”
Myrtleford’s Lisa Davey believed the umpiring may favour the Pigeons.
“In the preliminary final the umpires started to crack down on issues they have ignored to some extent all year,” she said.
“I don’t have a problem with that — it’s the finals.
“But Yarrawonga will know what to expect whereas it could upset the Lavington girls’ game.”
North Albury’s Fiona Boyer believed Yarrawonga has the form to win the decider but Raiders’ Sandra Forrest said Panthers by 10 goals.
“Lavi’s tall, strong defenders will be able to contain Yarra’s shooters,” she said.
“The Pigeons defenders will have a tough time keeping Haylee Penny and Sarah Senini in check.”
Albury’s Jenny Jones believed Lavington would see Sunday’s grand final as a chance for redemption.
“I think they still carry the scars of what happened last year when they went out in straight sets — this is their chance to atone,” she said.
“Lavington also has a very strong defensive end and carry height all over the court.
“The Panthers weren’t at their best in their 1-point win against Wodonga two weeks ago but I think they will have learned from that.
“I’d imagine Kate Yensch or Sarah Meredith will have the job on Bridget Cassar and if they can shut her down then they are well on the way to victory.
“Lavington will also be mindful of the impact Sarah Wollington can have on the game.”
Wodonga coach Kelli Moylan, whose team was bundled out of the finals by Yarrawonga last week, said the addition of Hannah Symes to the Pigeons’ defence swung the game in their favour.
“Earlier in the year their defence was exposed by their lack of height but that isn’t the case now,” she said.