Echuca aims for grand final win against Shepparton

By Lauren Bordin

If there is one side able to knock off Shepparton for the first time this season it is Echuca.

The Murray Bombers have talent spread across the court and nine A-grade players that can be swung into different positions should coach Gina Pearson desire.

While Shepparton has Kim Commane, Echuca has its own target in Sheridan Townrow and Claudia Mawson and Olivia Hannon can work around the tall shooter in goal attack.

Pearson also has one of the finest young talents in the league to work with in Goulburn Valley League 17-and-under interleague captain Bridget Byrne.

Then there is Zara Pearson who is a fine defender or midcourter as well as Holly Butler and Erin Hill also contributing through the middle.

Rather than feeling defeated by the thought of stopping Melbourne Vixens goaler Commane, Pearson has brought the game back to simple terms.

‘‘My thought is it’s going to be an amazing grand final and we have to focus on what we can do well,’’ Pearson said.

‘‘The great thing about netball is every centre you get the chance to get the ball back, so all we can really do is make sure we work on ourselves.

‘‘If we score every time they do we’ve got a chance, but part of our issue is we turn the ball over too much, so we have to focus on improving that.

‘‘They’ve had an outstanding season and they’ve got amazing players and I know they have Kim Commane, who is an absolute superstar, but they’ve also got nine other great players that we’re going to have to work really hard on to prevent the ball coming into Kim.’’

Pearson has had a key focus for the finals series on reducing errors which is especially important given Shepparton does not make many of its own.

But like the Bears hoping to go one better than a 2013 grand final loss, being defeated in the decider in 2015 is also spurring on the Murray Bombers.

‘‘We lost a grand final a couple of years ago to Seymour and three of our players are feeling that and they really want it, so there’s a lot of drive in there to be successful and we want to prove we’re equally as good as the Bears,’’ Pearson said.

‘‘On the weekend (in the preliminary final) we had a close game against Shepp United and the players on the bench were just so vocal, our young players want it just as much as the senior players.’’

Echuca has continued to build its game throughout the season, as new combinations had to jell following changes from last year.

But since the latter rounds of the home and away season the Murray Bombers have hit peak form and are aiming to keep that going for one more game on Sunday.