Going on a Bear hunt for grand final spot

September 15, 2017

Tracey Brereton is determined to win a grand final in her 10th year as Shepparton's head coach, but first the Bears must win the battle against Shepparton United in Sunday's preliminary final.

Preliminary finals have not brought much joy for Shepparton across the past decade.

The Bears enter their sixth preliminary final in nine years on Sunday when they takes on arch rivals Shepparton United at Deakin Reserve.

Of the past five appearances Shepparton has won just preliminary final in 2013, gaining entry into its only grand final in A-grade history before losing to the Shepparton Swans.

The Bears are hoping to keep the possibility of winning their first premiership alive with a win on Sunday.

Following 2013, Shepparton played in the next two preliminary finals before bowing out last year against Kyabram in the semi-final.

But the Bears are excited for another shot and coach Tracey Brereton said the past would remain there as she looks to win a grand final in her 10th year as head coach.

‘‘I suppose it’s a good stat, I suppose you can’t really reflect on past things, each year you get to a prelim final with a different roster, I seem to have a different team each year, so past history or past events shouldn’t affect Sunday,’’ she said.

Shepparton is a different side to previous years and even the season just gone, with Ash Cann out after giving birth and young players Grace Egan and Ella Sidebottom in their first full year as A-grade players.

The season ledger is split at one-all between the Bears and Demons.

United began its season with a stirling performance under lights on Good Friday, before Shepparton claimed the victory in round 12.

Having taken the game by 15 goals following a fantastic first quarter, Brereton was pleased with how her side stuck at the task and blew out the margin in the final term.

‘‘I suppose I was probably impressed at the way when we got on top of them, even though they came right back at one stage, when we did get on top of them we made the most of them,’’ she said.

While the Bears boast Kim Commane in goals, Jessie Barnes-Hill has been a pivotal recruit for United.

Her athleticism and motivation is something Brereton knows well having coached her during this year’s interleague.

While Laura Ryan and Maddie Moore are among those that could go to the star goal attack, she remains a dangerous player to stick with.

‘‘She’s a really good player for them, she’s got the height, the versatility and she’s athletic, she can play both ends and is a really important player for them, but they’ve got a lot of other good players,’’ Brereton said.

Shepparton players are happy to return to Deakin Reserve having not played there since the start of last month, the match before its bye.

The Bears have won eight of the 10 games played at the grand final venue this season, as both sides cancel out home court advantage.

‘‘It’s nice to come back to our home court, we played some beautiful netball there this year and we’re familiar with the venue,’’ Brereton said.


Sunday, Deakin Reserve

A-grade: Shepparton United v Shepparton, 2.15pm.

B-grade: Echuca v Shepparton United, 1pm.

B-reserve: Shepparton United v Shepparton Swans, 11.45am.

Under-17s: Shepparton v Echuca, 10.30am.

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