Mental toughness to be key in Kangaroo Flat-Golden Square BFNL netball premiership deceider

GOLDEN Square premiership coach Lia Marrone believes mastering the mental battle will be more decisive than winning the physical battle in Saturday's BFNL A-grade netball grand final.

Marrone will lead the Bulldogs into their third straight grand final at the QEO on Saturday against Kangaroo Flat.

They are seeking to become the first team since the Roos in 2010-11 to win back-to-back A-grade flags.

The Bulldogs will enter the premiership decider in arguably their best shape all season following the return of Gabe Richards from injury, polished defender Allira Hammond and with young stars Ashley and Abbey Ryan free of VNL commitments.

Marrone said there was no doubt her side had gathered plenty of momentum in recent weeks once at full-strength, highlighted by convincing finals against Gisborne and Sandhurst.

"I think it will be a lot about a mental game and playing under the pressure of a grand final," she said.

"It's definitely (going to need) a team effort.

"We can't let any position fall down and make sure we are on top of it on every part of the court - goals, defence and mid-court."

The Bulldogs ended the season with a 13-5 win-loss mark and were unable to dethrone the top-of-the-ladder Roos in two clashes this season.

Twelve goals was the margin in their last contest on August 6 at My Jet Oval.

But with the reigning premiers back to full-strength, Marrone felt mental toughness was what might separate the teams on grand final day.

"Both teams are very skilful and that’s without a doubt," she said.

"It's going to be who is mentally tough on the day; who can let go of the mistakes, who can thrive under pressure, who can build up their teammates.

"I think that's what's going to get one team over the line."

Golden Square and Kangaroo Flat last clashed in a grand final in 2014, on a day when the Roos prevailed by 18 goals.

It was a fond occasion for Karly Elvey, who played in her fourth A-grade premiership with the Roos, and will get a chance at a fifth in a year in which she passed 200 games and represented the BFNL inter-league team.

With Kangaroo Flat having played only one final en-route to the big dance, the Roos skipper has had plenty of chances to see the Bulldogs play during the final series and was clearly impressed.

"Their court-work is just really impressive," Elvey said.

She was confident the Roos' chances had not been affected by playing just the one game since round 18 (August 27), but felt the Bulldogs had thrived on their finals load.

"Usually I prefer to play all the way through, but this year the top five was so dangerous, so the less we played the safer we felt," Elvey said.

"Anyone could have knocked out anyone, it was how they played on the day.

"Us having the week off and I guess Square playing all the way through, just getting that match play with Gabe, I could see them improving week-to-week.

"So it's going to be tough - very tough."

The Roos could not have been more impressive in their second semi-final win, overcoming Sandhurst 57-49. They have not lost a game since June 18 against the Dragons.

But there would be no added pressure of entering the grand final clash with a league best 17 wins, one loss and one draw record, according to the captain.

"With the season, how it's been, we've come up against teams missing players,” Elvey said.

"We actually haven't played Gabe this year and we haven't played them with Allira (Hammond) in the side.

"The way we are looking at is we are coming up against the reigning premiers - they are one player different than who won it last year."

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