GMLTA grand final preview

By Alex Mitchell

Goulburn Murray Lawn Tennis Association glory is up for grabs when Numurkah and Tatura meet in today’s top-tier decider.

Fresh from handing the Cockroaches their first loss of the campaign in last weekend’s semi-final, the Warriors will be brimming with confidence for the GM1 Shepparton Lawn Tennis club showdown, but Tatura will certainly go down swinging.

After handing out the nine-game semi-final loss to the Cockies, Numurkah’s Mark Mills said a similar, nothing-to-lose attitude would be necessary to get the chocolates.

‘‘There’s no reason we shouldn’t be confident after a win seven days ago, but we know that was their first loss of the season so they won’t be sitting back, we expect them to come out all guns blazing,’’ he said.

‘‘We went into last weekend with a clean slate, we didn’t dwell on our previous results against them.

‘‘We were full of confidence and with a double chance we knew we could throw everything at them with Sunday up our sleeve.

‘‘We flew out of the blocks, but we don’t expect the same thing this weekend, maybe we just caught them napping.’’

Tatura’s David Starling, part of the team which went 11-1-0 through the regular season, before the 5-52 to 3-43 semi-final loss, said his side was intent on making amends for the defeat.

He said the side had got its swagger back in the preliminary final, seeing off a talented Shepparton Bulls line-up, 6-59 to 2-40.

‘‘It was just one of those things, Numurkah roared out of the blocks playing really well and we didn’t start well at all,’’ he said.

‘‘That was the way the day played out, but we re-grouped and went at it again on Sunday, and came away with the win.

‘‘I think both teams would be feeling fairly confident.’’

The decider will certainly be a battle of the big guns; Tatura’s Bruce Ferguson and Leanne Moore are both undefeated in singles for the season with 12-0 and 11-0 records respectively, while Numurkah’s Helene Steward (8-1) and Nick Fenaughty (7-1) have also lit it up.

‘‘We’ve got two absolute stars — Helene Steward is our not-so-secret weapon, she’s been unbelievably solid for many years,’’ Mills said.

‘‘And our number one is Nick Fenaughty, he was out all last season with a shoulder. We didn’t win a game without him last season, which shows what a massive difference one player can make.’’

Starling’s Tatura team was not panicking and sticking to its strengths would have to be the recipe for redemption, not to mention a premiership flag.

‘‘We’ve just been fairly solid all season, through a season not all four players are going to play well every game, but when someone is down someone else will play well,’’ he said.

‘‘I think that’s the reason we’ve been able to win all those games.

‘‘We had a little bit of a chat on Sunday about it but we won’t be making wholesale changes.

‘‘We’ll address that after a warm-up, have another chat and go at it. We’re just looking forward to it now.’’

●Mooroopna will also be looking to knock off a juggernaut when it faces Echuca in the GM2 Open grand final.

The Jets made the grand final with a 15-game win against Kialla Park last weekend, but will be up against it facing an Echuca side with a 12-3-1 record this campaign.

Echuca also smashed the Jets by 55 games in last weekend’s semi-final.

●GM2 Mixed action will see Numurkah battle the Shepparton Giants, the Raiders hot favourites after beating them by 38 games last weekend.

The Giants won their way through to the grand final with a 15-game triumph against the Shepparton Lions.