Women's sport: WPL, Greater Open Netball Championship and BDAFL hit finals time

SHOWDOWN: BNC Whanau's Sam Belcher, left, and Forsythes Business Advisors player Angela Williams at National Park Netball Courts on Friday ahead of their semi-final showdown in Greater Open Championship. Picture: Glen Hawke
SHOWDOWN: BNC Whanau's Sam Belcher, left, and Forsythes Business Advisors player Angela Williams at National Park Netball Courts on Friday ahead of their semi-final showdown in Greater Open Championship. Picture: Glen Hawke

Netball: BNC return to finals

BNC Whanau coach Cherie Aoake-Puru is known for having tricks up her sleeve and this weekend will be no different as her team returns to finals netball for the first time since 2013.

BNC finished fourth and will play third-placed Forsythes Business Advisors in the Greater Open Netball Championship elimination semi-final at National Park courts on Saturday.

“We train around the teams that we are playing and we bring a game plan to everyone and hopefully the girls stick to it,” Aoake-Puru said.

Forsythes won 47-43 when the two sides met in round six then 44-43 in round 13 on July 29.

“There was only one goal in it in the end last time but we’re hoping this time to lead from the front,” Aoake-Puru said. 

“We haven’t started well in any game until in our game [against Nova Thunder] last Saturday. We played all four quarters and put a massive gap against Nova, so we’re hoping to back that up.

“You can’t start slow against any of these teams that are left and we know that.”

Aoake-Puru said it was “nice to be back” in the finals.

“It’s been three years and there are two players left from that time until now,” she said.

“They were a group who were in the finals for 10 years and it’s been rebuilding for the past three.

Minor premiers West Leagues Balance and defending champions Souths Lions have the weekend off before meeting in the major semi-final on August 19.

The game on Saturday starts at 2.30pm.

WPL: United expect Adamstown attack

Merewether midfielder Jane McDonald rated Adamstown captain Clare Cummings as Rosebud’s most influential player as they headed into the deciding leg of their Herald Women’s Premier League semi-final at Myamblah Oval on Saturday.

United hold a 2-1 lead in the two-legged tie and McDonald expected their opponents to adopt an attacking mentality as they chase a win at Merewether.

“The pressure is on them a bit to attack which will make for an exciting game,” McDonald said.

“They’re going to have to try to score and if Clare Cummings pushes forward then she is a worry for us. She’s dangerous whenever she goes on the attack.”

Cummings is vital to Adamstown’s defence but can cut a swathe through opposing teams when she charges up field with the ball at her feet.

She can also score from range.

McDonald said the pain of failing to progress to last year’s decider after losing to Warners Bay in the semi-finals still burned strong for the 2015 minor premiers and champions.

“We aren’t yet looking past this game but we definitely want to be in the grand final,” McDonald said.

“Adamstown hustled really well last week and won all the 50-50s, which put us off a bit, and I think we need to be a bit smarter in the way we play.”

Rosebud coach Lou D’Amico suggested they would attack the game but said “we also need to be careful”.

The first leg was locked at one-all before Grace Macintyre scored from close range in a goalmouth scramble in which Rosebud goalkeeper Olivia Sneddon was knocked unconscious.

Sneddon will miss the game on Saturday through injury and Natalie Wiseman takes her place in goals. 

Warners Bay take a 4-2 lead into the second leg of their semi-finals with Mid North Coast at John Street Oval on Sunday but player-coach Cassidy Davis said they would approach the game as any other.

“Some might say we’ve got a 4-2 lead and we should sit back and be smart, but I still think we’re going to go for it and try to score more goals,” Davis said.

Both games kick off at 2.15pm.  The winners will meet in the grand final at Edgeworth on August 20.

AFL: Finals kick off

It is do or die time in the women’s Black Diamond AFL on Saturday when the finals series begin at Max McMahon Oval.

Gosford take on Killarney Vale and Maitland play Wyong Lakes in the elimination semi-finals.

Unbeaten minor premiers Newcastle City and defending champions Nelson Bay have the weekend off.

Rugby League: North at home

North Newcastle face an important round-13 match on home turf when they host Glenmore Park at Passmore Oval in NSW Women’s Premiership on Sunday at 3pm.

North are fourth with 16 points with two rounds until the finals but can draw level with second-placed Glenmore Park by winning this weekend.

Glenmore Park are stuck in a three-way tie for the competition lead on 18 points with Redfern and Mounties.