TO say the Muswellbrook Ramettes have “come out of the blue” to book a spot in the BHP Billiton Hunter Valley Group 21 women’s league tag decider would be an understatement.
After limping into fourth place, the Hayden Fox-coached outfit has made every post a winner in the past fortnight, eliminating the Singleton Greyhounds and Murrurundi Mavettes from the premiership race.
Now, they’ll meet the undefeated Merriwa Magpies in Saturday’s grand final at Olympic Park, Muswellbrook.
“It’s been an up and down year,” Fox admitted.
“We had high expectations at the start of 2017 – and we began well.
“But, the girls encountered a few hiccups mid-season.
“Injuries in key positions hurt us a bit.
“However, everyone has worked hard over the last month to get things back on track.
“Singleton and Murrurundi finished higher on the ladder [to us], yet I think we’ve produced our two best performances in the semis.
“Most importantly, we’ve played as a team.
“From the fullback to the bench, everyone’s done their job.”
Even though the Magpies boast an impressive record, Fox still rates the Ramettes’ chances as high.
“We’ve been competitive against them,” he explained.
“We went down by four in our first outing then lost a hard road trip [to Merriwa] by 12 points.
“They’re also unbeaten in 2017, which puts pressure on them.
“We, on the other hand, have plenty of momentum behind us after finishing the season in fourth.
“So, we give ourselves every chance to beat them, especially if everyone turns up on the day.
“Halves Cressa Harris and Shae Pemberton’s passion and desire to win have rubbed off on the other girls.
“They’ve led the team around the park well.
“Harmony Liddell’s been strong, too.
“To be honest, we’re not focusing much on our rivals.
“We know they have strike power across the field – and we’ll need to keep an eye on fullback Taylah Blackadder.
“But, if we concentrate on our own game and play to our strengths, we should be okay.
“Hopefully, there’ll be a big crowd to cheer on the girls.”
The encounter kicks off at 10.30am, with under-18s, reserve and first grade to follow.