Bears aim for peak effort as they ascend Everett
FIRST GRADE: While she equates a grand final match against Grafton Hockey Association juggernaut McAuley White to climbing Mt Everest, there are no worries for City Bears captain Tammy Power.
She is just as happy to be in the grand final as winning it.
City Bears have been the surprise packet of the GHA women's first grade competition, earning their way into the grand final in their first season in the top grade.
"Pretty much everyone wrote us off before game one. No one ever believed we'd be in the grand final, I think that is why it has just been that much sweeter,” Power said.
"We only have four players who had A Grade experience last season, we shouldn't really be in the grand final but I think it is just the combination of having a lot of fun and super coaching from Rick Sampson.”
The City Bears side had to fight tooth and nail to get into the grand final, earning their way through with a last-minute penalty stroke against Sailors last weekend.
But Power believes the grinding contest that went deep into extra time has set up her side to grind out a win against McAuley.
"The girls have worked hard and they took a lot out of that win last week,” she said. "The girls had to really dig deep and we could not have asked for any more from them, if they can put in anything similar to that effort, we should be in with a shot.”
But it won't be easy for the City Bears side, with McAuley aiming to add a fourth straight first division premiership to their dynasty.
The side have claimed five wins over their opponents already this season, including a tough 2-1 effort in the major semi-final a fortnight ago.
McAuley coach Harrison Smith said he was expecting a similarly close contest in the grand final, and with no Murphy Thompson in the backline, he knows his side will need to dig deep to clinch glory again.
"They're always fairly close games between the two teams, and I'm expecting this game to be no different,” he said.
"The message this week has been for the girls to think about their own game, think about what you're going to do in the grand final.
"I'd really like to get the win. This year has been my first year coaching them and I would very much like to win. I've got to play the game straight after so I'd love to win.
"I'm confident they can do it, but it really could go either way. Bears are a very good team, a very well coached team so it'll be a great game to watch for sure.”
Kylies Klassics v McAuley Blue
KYLIES Klassics have enjoyed victory over McAuley Blue in their previous match-ups during the 2018 season, which should give them confidence heading into this grand final clash and give them the status of favourites.
In their favour, McAuley Blue have had a good run into the finals for a well-timed burst of form, and youthful legs during what is usually a hot time of day may prove to be the edge needed.
After finishing fourth on the competition ladder, McAuley Blue earned a 1-0 win over Sailors Allure Derma in their semi-final match before winning through to the grand final with a 3-1 win over minor premiers Village Angels.
Kylies Klassics, after finishing second in the competition, won through to the grand final with a 2-1 win over Village Angels
This grand final clash is sure to be a thriller.
Clarence Coast V Old Stars
WITH 10 teams in the Women's 3rd Grade competition, the last time Clarence Coast and Old Stars played was mid June, but in the two times the teams have played Clarence Coast have won both.
While Clarence Coast have earned the chocolates in their two encounters. Old Stars have not lost a game since they last played Clarence Coast.
The two teams finished on equal points on the Women's 3rd Grade competition ladder, and it was Clarence Coast that defeated minor premier Sailors Storm 2-1 in the semi-final, before Old Stars ended their grand final dreams with a 2-1 victory in the preliminary finals.
Clarence Coast will take confidence from its earlier season wins over Old Stars, though this match will be anything but a cake walk.
Baileys Sapphires v Kylies Kasuals
BAILEYS would go in as favourites for this grand final clash, after defeating Kylies Kasuals in the major semi-final, although their games against each other have been close all year.
In their four regular season clashes, Kylies Kasuals was unable to find a way past the Baileys Sapphires' defence and the back of the net, although there were 0-0 draws in Rounds 2 and 17.
Their semi-final match-up was a more high-scoring affair, with Baileys Sapphires coming away with a 4-3 win.
These two teams have been the leading teams in the Women's 4th Grade competition this season, with Baileys Sapphires topping the table, with only one loss all year, followed closely by Kylies Kasuals.
Their match-ups all year have been close encounters, and this grand final is shaping up to be no different.