Gabe Richards notches 50 games for Golden Square in BFNL netball preliminary final

AS SHE prepares to play her 50th game for Golden Square, star goal shooter Gabe Richards has only one wish.

And that is that her 51st game comes this year instead of next.

That is reliant on the Bulldogs finding a way past Gisborne in Saturday’s preliminary final at the Queen Elizabeth Oval.

A win would propel Golden Square into a fourth straight BFNL A-grade grand final, to be played on September 23 against Sandhurst.

Richards has been a part of the past two, including the Bulldogs’ exciting four goal premiership win against Strathfieldsaye in 2015.

The dual sports star, who is preparing for her 10th WNBL season with Bendigo Spirit, shapes as an obvious key against a talented and tough Gisborne, led by star player Maddy Stewart.

“Our games against Gisborne have been tough all year,” Richards said.

“They’re super competitive and when it comes to finals, they have a reputation of knocking teams off and always come prepared.

“They’re well coached, tough, hard at the ball, so it will be a very challenging contest for us.”

Golden Square had the better of the teams’ most recent contest to score a five goal qualifying win a fortnight ago.

It gave the Allira Holmes-coached Golden Square a 2-1 advantage in games played against Gisborne this season.

Gisborne set up a rematch with a hard-fought, but impressive 13-goal win against Kangaroo Flat last week, while Golden Square fell nine goals short of Sandhurst.

With the Bulldogs now at top-strength (with the obvious exception of midcourter Kelly Wilson, who has left for Townsville to resume her WNBL commitments), Richards was confident of a repeat victory over their rivals.

“Last time was the first time we have played them with a full team – we’re still sort of settling in to our positions,” she said.

“We’ve had an inconsistent season due to injuries and people away.

“But we seem to be gelling at the right end of the year which is good for us. We just need to keep it up for a couple more games.”

Richards - who was part of the BFNL’s association championships win in June – spoke with pride of her involvement at Golden Square and hoped to reward the club with a big game on Saturday.

This season has been particularly satisfying playing alongside great friends and long-time basketball teammates Kelly and Andrea Wilson.

“I don’t play for numbers,” Richards said in reference to her 50 game milestone.

“But playing for Square has been thoroughly enjoyable.

“It’s a great club, with great people – to be getting 50 games at this time of year is the good thing.

“Hopefully I can rack up 51 (games) this season.”