BULLDOGS Verdelho are the first side through to this year's Bathurst Netball Association A grade grand final following a hard fought victory over Panthers on Saturday.
The defending champion Bulldogs side put themselves within one more win of another title after downing the Panthers 50-44 at the John Matthews Sporting Complex.
It was bound to be another close game between Bulldogs and Panthers after they'd split the wins evenly over the two previous times they'd met this year.
Panthers will get another opportunity to qualify for the grand final this Saturday when they take on Collegians Mystified, who took out the weekend's minor semi-final.
Collegians went into their game against Panthers Mustangs as big favourites, having recorded a big 31-point win in the same matchup just seven days prior, but the Mustangs put up a stronger fight in the knockout game.
However, it still wasn't enough to get near the Mystified women, who ran out 35-18 winners.
Collegians coach Mel Noonan was quick to give thanks to the Mustangs squad for pushing through a challenging end to their 2023 campaign.
"I thought it was such great sportsmanship from Mustangs to put together a team when they've struggled towards the back end of the season," she said.
"It was nice for them to give us a game leading in to finals so that we had a bit of court time.
"It was a nice game, very light hearted and played in a great spirit of the game."
The Mystified squad will back themselves to be capable of taking the long path through to the grand final.
They beat Bulldogs early in the season and came within four points of the Panthers in a game midway through the year.
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Collegians will need to wait and see what their squad will look like for the upcoming match.
"Olivia Johnston came back to netball this year to play both AFL and netball. She's had a bit of an injury so at this stage we're not sure if she'll play finals.
"Obviously AFL's been her first sport so she hasn't had a lot of court time.
"I know it's late in the season to be finding this out, but I'm still not sure if all our combinations are completely locked in but the girls are definitely enjoying their netball
"There's no question about that, and they're really enjoying playing with one another, which is such a big bonus."