The Deniliquin Rams’ simple-sounding yet rather complex task in today’s grand final against Moama is this: drag the Magpies into deep water and see if they can swim their way out.
Many have pointed to the 74-25 scoreline from round 20 as an illustration of the advantage the Magpies have, but crazier things have happened in grand finals than the Rams finding form and making today’s Mercury Dve decider a scrap.
Moama has won 37 games in the past two season but not one of them has been by a single-figure margin, losing two and drawing one when the scores are close.
The challenge for the Rams’ coach Jodie Sefton and her side is to keep the game close and see what the opposition is made of.
‘‘It will take the perfect game to beat them, they’re a steady and balanced side,’’ she said.
‘‘The one thing is, should we get them under pressure, how will they react? They haven’t been challenged in a while, and that’s an unknown factor, we’re hoping to get the opportunity to put them under pressure.
‘‘Our girls understand that pressure and did an amazing job to come from behind last weekend and we certainly know we’re capable of doing it.
‘‘The question mark is with Moama, because they’ve never really been challenged.’’
Deniliquin has certainly shown in its recent games it has the mental fortitude to win close games, trailing during extra-time before winning 49-47 against Numurkah in Sunday’s preliminary final.
Ella Harvey made an impact in the mid-court last weekend and will look to do it again in the decider, with centre Eleisha Bartlett also needing to be at her best to shut down the dangerous Magpies.
A crucial match-up will see youngster Ella Park potentially clash with star Magpie shooter Angela Slattery, with Amelia Seignior another option for the X-factor talent.
The 49-goal margin from round 20 did little to knock Sefton’s confidence in her side to give a true challenge.
‘‘We’re not really taking any notice of that game, it’s not a guide on how the teams match up,’’ she said.
‘‘Last time we played them was far from ideal in terms of player availability — but the time before that a few weeks before, the game was in the balance half-way through. We certainly think if we play well we can be competitive.’’
Moama’s recent record means it has well and truly earned the favourite tag, but Sefton understood that would mean little when the sides took to the court.
‘‘Everyone thinks it’s a done deal but we’re pretty happy with underdog status,’’ she said.
‘‘I’ve been in positions in grand finals where we’ve been unbackable favourites and it’s gone pear-shaped pretty quickly.’’