Millicent sets sights on 11th consecutive WBNA

Donna Denton Dsc 5517  TBW Newsgroup
FORMIDABLE FORCE: Donna Denton will look to lead her strong Millicent side to a remarkable 11th consecutive premiership when the Saints face East Gambier in the 2019 Western Border Netball Association grand final at McLaughlin Park tomorrow. Picture: THOMAS MILES

Donna Denton Dsc 5517 TBW Newsgroup
FORMIDABLE FORCE: Donna Denton will look to lead her strong Millicent side to a remarkable 11th consecutive premiership when the Saints face East Gambier in the 2019 Western Border Netball Association grand final at McLaughlin Park tomorrow. Picture: THOMAS MILES

MILLICENT will look to scale the mountain for an 11th consecutive time when it hits its home courts for tomorrow’s Western Border netball grand final against East Gambier.

The Saints have remarkably won every premiership of the last decade and have shown no signs of slowing down in 2019 with a near-perfect campaign.

The reigning premier has been in a class of its own with victories in all-but one minor-round fixture this year.

The pressure of finals only seemed to lift Millicent with a commanding 31-goal win over West Gambier.

The Saints stamped their authority and doubled their nearest-rivals score to book a place in another decider.

Millicent appears in ominous form to ease to another flag and coach Donna Denton said her group felt ready to attack the finals after a strong season.

“For sure we had some confidence going into the finals series,” she said.

“We finished the season playing well, so we just hope we can continue that run.”

Despite each member of the Saints side enjoying many past premierships, Denton believes there will still be nerves on the court.

She said the atmosphere and occasion of a grand final produces a unique feeling compared to any other game.

“I do not think it matters how many you play in, grand finals are just different,” she said.

“They bring a new level of expectation and nerves.

“It is just a matter of how you deal with them on the day.

“We are lucky we have got some experience to help us and hopefully it allows us settle in quickly.”

A major strength of the Millicent squad is its healthy mix of youth and experience.

The likes of Denton, Hayley Dunn, Lisa Duldig and Demi Verbena have been key pillars of the Saints’ success for so many years and lead by example.

The four are well supported by emerging talents such as Hannah Nitschke, Madi Haggett, Lucy Denton and Paige Nitschke.

The young stars provide speed and agility to put the finishing touches on the formidable line up.

Donna Denton said the young players bring a lot to the senior side and have fitted in perfectly to create a happy group.

“We just really enjoy our netball,” she said.

“We have been able to keep our core group of players together and that¬†has been a real key.

“But we have also been able to blend in the juniors to keep everything¬†fresh.

“To have youth and experience at each end, we are excited for our club and hopefully we can continue to develop them the best we can to keep us strong.”

Denton also pointed out the Bulldogs’ young and emerging players such as Kate Dempsey.

She said East will be tough to beat after its preliminary final upset and expects a close game.

“East has played well as a team and we just need to make sure all seven of us do our job,” she said.

“They are coming off a good preliminary final, so I am sure it is going to be a tight game.”

With the grand final played at McLaughlin Park, the Saints will enjoy the rare home-ground advantage.

Denton said with six Millicent sides chasing a flag, a stirring atmosphere should be in store and it will give the favourites a boost.

“It is definitely exciting for us to play at home,” she said.

“We have only played host to one other grand final in my time and with so many (Millicent) teams involved, it will be a nice feeling.

“Hopefully it can help our side get over the line.”