When Cavaliers cross paths with neighbours Northern Hawks one last time for the season, captain Kate Gibson will be reminding teammates that Saturday’s meeting is no ordinary derby stoush.
The two Launceston clubs will play off for the right to advance into the 2018 State League netball grand final.
Hawks have reached the past two recent deciders but Cavaliers only have to look back to a 2015 appearance.
Cavaliers have won seven premierships – the second most in Tasmanian history – but only Gibson remains from their last title in 2013.
The diminutive goal attack says missing finals the past two years has motivated the side for a return to the top.
But big-game experience is not an issue, Gibson putting faith in a young lineup that contains several girls who were a part of a Cavs’ dynasty of 19-and-under premierships from 2011 to 2015.
“It’s a huge motivation,” Gibson said. “The club has gone through a bit of rebuilding phase, having lot of young players in the club.
“But we’re really excited also by this opportunity.”
Gibson could not deny this year’s preliminary final had extra special meaning.
This comes just a fortnight after Cavs led for the bulk of their last-round game against Hawks before slipping to a two-goal loss at the death.
The chance of being the second side to beat Hawks has not sapped confidence following a morale-boosting semi-final win over Kingston.
“It’s do or die for Hawks and Cavs – that’s a difference,” Gibson said. “There is that great rivalry and it never really matters where you sit on the table, it’s going to be a tightly contested, hard-fought match to the end.”
Hawks captain Ashton Whiley says the side is looking forward to returning back to the Silverdome after both sides were forced to play home finals at Ulverstone.
“Obviously, the grand final is our main goal, but the crowd and the atmosphere on derby games there is really good for us,” Whiley said.
Hawks lost for the second time in 17 games to Arrows in last week’s semi-final.
Whiley said frustrations have turned into an incentive not to finish prematurely.
“We were disappointed in our own game just because we knew we were so much better than that,” she said.
“The key was we weren’t consistent with our our game and that’s what we are going to take into this week.”
“It’s almost kick start our training this week. We’ve had some really good training sessions of high intensity.”
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