Eaglehawk have been tipped as hot favourites by the Bendigo Football Netball League’s A-grade coaches for this Saturday’s grand final against Sandhurst.
Beaten just once on the way to finishing on top of the ladder at the end of home and away season, BFNL coaches believe the Hawks are going to be hard to beat.
The Hawks’ consistency will be a key factor in the battle for premiership glory.
First-year Castlemaine coach Kate Wastell believes the clash is going to be a close one.
“It’s going to be a very close game that will come down to the wire,” she said.
Many coaches believe goal shooter Abby Gilmore’s accuracy will be important after her outstanding first season with the Hawks.
Gilmore finished third in the Betty Thompson Medal count for the league best and fairest which was won by Kangaroo Flat’s Karly Bingham, with Castlemaine’s Meg Gilbert the runner-up.
“The accuracy of Abby should see Eaglehawk come out on top,” Kangaroo Flat coach Janelle Hobbs said.
Gilmore has had the support of Christie Rogers, who has also had a great season, in attack.
Although the leagues coaches have listed Eaglehawk as favourites, it would be no surprise if Sandhurst comes away with the win.
The maroon and blue’s goaling combination of Jasmine Finnigan and Lucy Spalding has been strong all season, but Maryborough coach Alicia Cassidy believes Eaglehawk’s defence can come out on top.
“Heather Oliver and Lauren Ryan have formed a really tough defence to come up against and will be hard to beat,” Cassidy said.
BFNL coaches listed Lauren Ryan as favourite to win the best on court award.
Strathfieldsaye coach Jody Warfe believes anyone can win it.
“It’s the grand final, it will be a different game.
“There will be plenty of nerves.
“Eaglehawk has a great bunch of players,” she said of a team which beat Sandhurst with a penalty goal after the final whistle in the first meeting of the clubs this season.
Eaglehawk’s best in that match were Oliver, Ryan and Gilmore, while Watson, Evans and Brianna Dalrymple-Monro played well for Sandhurst.
The Two Blues have won all three contests with Sandhurst this season.
This seasons meetings:
Round 6 at QEO:
Sandhurst 34 lt Eaglehawk 35.
Round 15 at Canterbury Park:
Eaglehawk 43 d Sandhurst 39.
Second semi-final at QEO:
Eaglehawk 41 d Sandhurst 24.
The A-grade grand final starts at 3pm on Saturday at the QEO and will be the last of five play-offs Sandhurst will contest.