Grand final preview
A massive day looms at the Lavington Sportsground for the 2023 grand finals in the SS&A OMFNL, with the weather forecast close to perfection, with a sunny 22 degrees forecasted.
Grand Final week swung into action on Monday evening with the Morris and Wilson Medal presentation evening at the SS & A club in front of 270 attendees.
The Toni Wilson Medal was shared by Sophie Hanrahan (Myrtleford) and Lavington’s Maddi Lloyd who both finished on 19 votes.
For Hanrahan who did not play in the final four rounds, it was her third Wilson medal and for Lloyd, it was her second league best and fairest triumph.
Yarrawonga goal shooter Sarah Moore was third on 17 votes, one clear of Panthers defender Tayla Furborough with Emily Browne (North Albury) & Emily Stewart (Raiders) both on 14 votes.
Wodonga’s Chloe Locke took out the B Grade Best & Fairest on 17 votes with an incredible four players equal runner-up on 13 votes.
Jaclyn McAlpine (Myrtleford), Bridget Flint-Chapman (Myrtleford), Molly McGrath (Wodonga Raiders) and Rachelle Petts (Wangaratta) shared the second place.
In C Grade Myrtleford’s Leah Keating polled 32 votes to finish five clear of Nicola Scalzo (North Albury) with Wangaratta’s Miranda Gray third on 25 votes.
Wodonga Raiders Australian Under 17 representative took out the 17 & Under award on 28 votes, Morgan McCrae (Yarrawonga) was runner-up on 25 with Rose Henry (Wangaratta) third on 20.
Skylah McPherson (Myrtleford) polled 38 votes to win the 15 & Under award, with Wodonga pair Ahri Cohen (31) and Abbey Bloye (27) & Raiders Jaya Joss (27) finishing second and third respectively.
The Morris Medal was taken out by Albury speedster and ball magnet Elliot Powell with 23 votes, two ahead of 2021 winner Cal Moore (Wangaratta).
Mark Whiley (Yarrawonga) was third on 18, with Wodonga’s Josh Mathey on 16 and Cam Ellis-Yolmen from the Raiders next on 12 votes.
Powell who returned to the Tigers from two years at Dederang Mt Beauty became the 15th Albury player to win a Morris Medal and the first since Chris Hyde in 2017.
Albury had another league medal winner when rover Jacob Brunner streeted the field finishing with 27 votes – a whopping fourteen ahead of runner-up Will Bradshaw (Wodonga).
Wangaratta Rovers Riley Allan took out the Leo Dean Award in the Under 18’s polling 22 votes – four ahead of teammate Will Ashton and Wodonga’s Reuben Bourke.
The Rising Star Award for netball was taken out by Lavington goal-scoring machine Christine Oguche, while Wodonga Raiders midfielder Nelson Bowey took out the Richard Hamilton Medal in football.
Has there been a more exciting finals series in netball than in 2023 – who would have thought mid-season that the grand final would be between Lavington and Wodonga Raiders.
Both teams have thrilled their supporters with breathtaking styles of netball and are set to unveil another epic contest on Sunday.
Both sides are loaded with a mixture seasoned stars and a host of rising stars that have taken the league by storm in the most competitive competition since its inception.
Wodonga Raiders have four teams competing on the grand final day with the only grade they won’t feature being C Grade where Yarrawonga play Myrtleford.
The action kicks off at 9.00 am when the Wodonga Derby will be played. The A grade netball grand final will be broadcast live on both 1494 2AY and 1566 3NE with pre-game from 11.30.
In a league first four radio stations will broadcast the senior football grand final – 1494 2AY, 1566 3NE, OAK FM and ABC Grandstand.
The football grand final will see Yarrawonga taking on Albury for the first time since 2014 – the end of six straight grand final battles between the two teams.
The Pigeons will be bolstered by the return of Harry Wheeler after having not played for 11 weeks, while Albury will wait on a medical clearance for George Horlin-Smith.
According to track watchers, the Pigeons have trained superbly during the week off while Albury finished full of running in its preliminary-final win over the Magpies.
Yarrawonga after losing to Albury on Easter Sunday has beaten Albury in its next two meetings including a 17-point win in the second semi-final at Wodonga.
Albury veteran Luke Daly a former coach and current co-captain of the club announced early in the week that the grand final will be his last with the Tigers.
Daly will leave having played 265 games and will be hoping to add one more flag to his total of six senior premierships.
The football action commences with Lavington taking on Wangaratta Rovers in the under eighteens at 9.00 am, followed by Lavington and Albury in the Reserves decider.