Cavaliers talk up their chances as Northern Hawks look to outwit Arrows

ATTACKING: Northern Hawks star Danni Pickett looks forward ahead of the crosstown clash against Cavaliers last week at the Silverdome. Picture: Paul Scambler
ATTACKING: Northern Hawks star Danni Pickett looks forward ahead of the crosstown clash against Cavaliers last week at the Silverdome. Picture: Paul Scambler

Cavaliers are not taking it one week at a time.

They are taking the month of August more akin to one finals series as a whole.

Coach Dannie Carstens said the third-placed side is not making up the numbers.

“We have it in our minds that we have three games this year to go right through to the grand final,” she said.

“So it’s ticking Kingston off this week, whether it’s Hawks or Arrows the next week and then the last one for us.

“It’s not about believing – we know we can do it.

“It’s just about making sure we stick with what we want to do play to for one another.”

The Launceston club has missed State League finals during the past two years.

Carstens was still a player last time Cavaliers were a part of a premiership push. That ended with an extra-time grand final defeat to Arrows, which exiled the Cavs into the finals wilderness.

Changes have happened since with captain Kate Gibson the only member left from the 2015 campaign.

LISTEN UP: Cavaliers coach Dannie Carstens.

LISTEN UP: Cavaliers coach Dannie Carstens.

“It’s still very fresh in our minds and we remind them all the time,” Carstens said.

“We have had some tremendous success over the last 20-plus years.

“In 2016 and 2017, they are the only two years that are our opens have never been in the finals series.

“So we have worked very hard on and off the court to make that happen again.” 

Carstens has prepared by reviewing video footage of the side’s most recent clash with Saturday’s minor semi-final opponent Kingston.

She said Cavs are a much better unit since losing to the Hobart club twice this year.

“We really as a team hadn’t built momentum until after that game,” Carstens said.

Minor premier Northern Hawks shape up as warm favourites over reigning premier Arrows at Ulverstone.

After missing out on hosting the match-up at the Silverdome, goal attack Danni Pickett said teammates were keen to press for a direct path into the grand final to ensure home-court advantage. 

​“It’s really such a big opportunity for us this weekend – obviously they have been a powerhouse over the last couple of years,” Pickett said.

“So it is going to be tough and finals games are a whole different story.

“So hopefully we can build on our games the last couple of weeks and earn the right for a home grand final.”

The game will be a major semi-final rematch from last season when the Hawks inflicted their rival’s first – and only – loss of the year. 

Fast forward 12 months and it’s Pickett’s team that carries a near-perfect 15-1 win-loss record.

Arrows sought revenge last month to end the Hawks’ 12-game winning run.

“Last year, we weren’t under pressure,” she said.

“They had been unbeaten all season and we were able to get the win over them in the semi-final, but finals are a whole different game.”

Pickett said coach Ruth Tuohy has kept things simple.

“I think executing our gameplan for a full 60 minutes is what we have to be focusing on,” Pickett said.

“We have probably not done that as consistently as we’d like for the year.

“We’ve had patches of lapses in concentration and intensity or stuff like that.”

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