North Albury’s one-time promising season is over after Albury hammered its fierce rival in Sunday’s elimination final.
The Tigers blitzed North in the second quarter, 16 goals to four, before nabbing a 58-34 win at Corowa’s John Foord Oval.
The Hoppers had no answer to Albury’s double-pronged attacking duo Jess Fisher-Curnow (35 goals) and Bree Poole (23).
“It was a fantastic win by the girls, we were really consistent for the four quarters,” Albury coach Olivia Aughton said.
“We’re really showing our colours at the end of the season, which is exciting, we keep improving week to week.”
North was in third spot heading into the final round and was out eight days later.
The Hoppers’ Grace Senior bagged 29 goals to finish with a bumper 678.
Elyse Boyer and Amelia Unthank were North’s best in a bitterly disappointing finish.
Meanwhile, Wangaratta appears headed for just its second grand final appearance after smashing premiers Yarrawonga under lights on Saturday night.
The Pies had the match by quarter-time, racing to a 19-four lead, before cruising to a 55-31 win in the first night final at Lavington Sportsground.
“The first half was flawless netball, probably the first half was the best we’ve played this year,” coach Kellie Keen said.
Yarrawonga has made the past 11 grand finals, winning seven, and while the club has undergone a major transformation, boasting just one or two of last year’s premiership team at times, Wangaratta’s effort shows just how far it’s come in recent years.
The first half was flawless netball, probably the first half was the best we’ve played this year.Kellie Keen
The Pies only grand final appearance in the competition’s 25-year history was a 10-goal loss to North Albury in 1996.
However, Keen admits the team must work on its second half, where it only out-scored the Pigeons by a goal.
“We fell away a little bit in that second half, but when you have a lead like that the lapses don’t hurt so much,” she said.
Amanda Umanski was dynamic, blasting 44 goals from 54 attempts at 82 per cent, with Kate Dean and defender Hannah Grady outstanding.
Pigeons’ coach Bridget Cassar featured with 19 goals at 68 per cent, while Mal Nankervis also played well.
Former Toni Wilson medallist Steph Elliott started in attack, but played well in defence late in the game.
The Pies now face undefeated Lavington in the grand final qualifier at North Albury’s Bunton Park on Saturday, while the Tigers will look to end the Pigeons’ streak of 11 straight grand finals in the first semi at Wangaratta Rovers’ WJ Findlay Oval on Sunday.
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