Claws keen for spot in grand final
IF you could sense hysteria on Saturday evening while watching television it’s not surprising – it was just the Capricorn Claws netball team celebrating their history-making victory in Brisbane.
Coach Barbara Ahmat admitted the Claws players were on such a high after forcing their way into this Saturday’s Ergon Energy Second Tier State Grand Final they could have flown back to Rockhampton without the aircraft.
“They have hearts of lionesses, these girls,” the coach said.
“They have a never-give-up attitude; no one is willing to be the first one to drop their head.”
Who could deny that statement as the country teams in the competition were there to make up the numbers for their south-east counterparts.
Fortunately the Claws had not read that script and have gone from one giant-killing act to the next and now feel they can go all the way and defeat the unbeaten Kedron Wavell Cougars.
It is a big ask, but there are not many around the state who would have predicted the Claws to beat Carina Tigers and then follow up that win with a 45-43 victory over Suncoast Lynx on Saturday.
“Last time they (Lynx) beat us by 20 goals,” Ahmat said.
The Claws started out as underdogs, suffering several opening round losses for just one win.
However, the team has gone from strength to strength, digging deep for each victory into the finals.
Ahmat is confident the Claws are capable of also turning the 35-goal loss to the Cougars in section play into a victory in the grand final.
The Lynx team had expected to ease past the Claws as the squad boasted the best shooters in the competition.
“Our defence was outstanding,” Ahmat said.
Going into the preliminary final, the Lynx shooters had an average of 80-90% success.
However, defenders Keanna Hopkins and Dannielle Wingard made life tough in the circle and that resulted in the shooting averaging out to just 71%, a massive drop in goal-scoring output.
“They managed 43 goals from 61 shots where we were 45 from 51 shots,” Ahmat said.
Ahmat said the Cougars coach had watched the match and had said it would be good to meet a different team in the final.
Now Ahmat and the girls want her to regret having to face the Claws.
Ahmat said the team’s success was a win for all netballers in Central Queensland.
“It is recognition of the playing talent in Central Queensland,” she said.