Gladstone’s Poppy Larson (left) in action for the Capricorn Claws. Larson was left out of the final Claws Squad which will contest the Tier Two State Netball League preliminary final, July 24.
Gladstone’s Poppy Larson (left) in action for the Capricorn Claws. Larson was left out of the final Claws Squad which will contest the Tier Two State Netball League preliminary final, July 24.

Claws sharpen for biggest test yet

THE Capricorn Claws netball team has already outdone all previous attempts by making the finals of the Tier Two State Netball League and plans to take it one step further later this month.

The Claws won the North Queensland Trophy for beating all other regional state teams outside the south-east corner and the players now want to make their first-ever grand final berth in the competition.

After defeating Brisbane South Wildcats with a convincing 51-34 victory last Saturday, the Central Queensland representative squad had to back up the next day to face the Carina Leagues Club Tigers for a spot in the minor semi-finals.

The Tigers finished the season two spots higher than the Claws but the hard-fought battle saw the Capricorn team claim a 40-37 victory to secure a spot in the preliminary final against the Suncoast Lynx at Brisbane on July 24.

Claws coach Barb Ahmat could not wipe the smile off her face following the two impressive wins.

“I think plastic surgery is the only thing that’s going to fix that,” Ahmat said of her smile.

“This is not only the best the Claws have ever done but it’s the best any regional team has ever done (since the competition was adapted to incorporate all 12 state regions).

“Most who make it through to the final six get knocked out straight away.”

The Claws have faced Suncoast once before in the opening round of the 2010 competition.

Lynx claimed a 52-32 win over the local girls but Ahmat is confident of a different result for their second 2010 meet.

She said in the early stages of the competition the team was still trialling different positions and partnerships on court.

“We’re pretty certain now that we’ve got our combos well and truly figured out,” the coach said.

“We’re confident we’ll have a surprise for them – same surprise as we had for the Tigers.”

Ahmat attributed the team’s success to the players’ strong resolve.

“We’ve had some pretty tough games over the few years we’ve been playing in this competition, so we’re pretty used to sticking to our guns and not dropping our heads and keeping on going.

“I think that’s probably it; we just kept on persevering and chipping away and kept on going,” Ahmat said.

Unfortunately for sole Gladstone region representative Poppy Larson the coach was forced to select the same 10-person squad to play all the finals games.

Ahmat said it was disappointing she had to use the same 10 girls for all games because of the abundance of skill in the squad.

The coach had already talked to Larson about playing for the Claws again in 2011 and was excited to see where her talent takes her.

If successful against Suncoast Lynx the Claws will play in the Tier Two State Netball League grand final July 31.



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