Panthers A ready to fire ahead of Bathurst Netball Association A grade grand final

They have already claimed the minor premiership, after one loss all season, but Panthers A still have a job to do this Saturday against Bulldogs Verdelho in the Bathurst Netball Association A grade grand final.

THE DECIDER: Panthers A player Carina Floyd will be amongst the action when her team takes on Bulldogs Verdelho in the grand final. Photo: ANYA WHITELAW

THE DECIDER: Panthers A player Carina Floyd will be amongst the action when her team takes on Bulldogs Verdelho in the grand final. Photo: ANYA WHITELAW

Even with the best record throughout the season, Panthers coach Di Coombes said that means nothing come first centre pass. 

“I think this year has been a really tight competition in A grade and between Bulldogs, [Collegians] Mystified and us, it could’ve been anyone,” she said.

“I was really happy to win the minor premiership but grand final is completely different. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done all year, it’s all about how you come out and play. That’s what we’re focusing on right now.

“We’re not thinking we were the minor premiers, we’ll just take this came seriously and ready to fire.” 

Bulldogs have had the strongest defence throughout the season, conceding just 313 points across the regular season.

Coombes said while the Bulldogs’ defence is strong, the team is strong all over the court.

“It’s going to be a really good game,” she said.

“Grand finals are really different game. There’s a lot of pressure. There’s a lot of young ones playing in it, as well. 

“If it’s going to be a tight game, it’s about handling the pressure, under stress, making good choices. You want your shooters on fire.

“Bulldogs are very strong in the defensive end but we’ll be right. The girls all look good. We trained well. We’ve got Claire [Woolmington] back. We thought she might have broken her wrist as well in the semi-final against Mystified.”

Coombes said the week off after Panthers’ 52-45 win over Collegians helped Woolmington recover from her injury. 

Gabby Bugg will miss the grand final, after breaking her wrist while on Bathurst Panthers league tag duties last month. 

Coombes said the side is keen to get out onto the court, on what will be a big day for the Bathurst Panthers Netball Club. 

“We’ve done really well as a club this year,” she said. 

“We’ve got 9 Panthers teams in grand finals on Saturday and two actually playing against each other.”

In each encounter between the two this season, Panthers have claimed the victory: a 47-25 win in May and a 47-37 win in July. 

Panthers only loss came against second-placed Collegians, after a 37-33 loss on May 20. 

Panthers have not qualified for a grand final since 2015, when the team was defeated by Bulldogs in the big dance.

That grand final defeat came after Panthers suffered only one defeat all season and finished as minor premiers. 

First pass is at 3pm, on Saturday afternoon at the John Matthews Netball Courts. 

PANTHERS A: Stacey Elvy, Carina Floyd, Astrid Linke, Jess Matthews, Lily McIntosh, Harriet Messner, Sarah Walsh, Ella Welsh, Claire Woolmington