Souths centre Narelle Eather.Souths Lions coach Trude Yen praised the work of veterans Tiffany Gilmour and Narelle Eather as her side found their “mojo” to book a grand final berth on Saturday.
The Lions, shooting for a fourth consecutive grand final win, defeated BNC Whanau 52-37 in the preliminary final at National Park to set up a rematch with Wests Leagues Balance next week.
Souths led16-7 at quarter-time and maintained the advantage at half-time, 27-18. BNC cut the margin to eight at three-quarter time but the Lions kicked clear in the last period.
Yen was pleased with the performance and confident her side was ready for the grand final challenge.
“I think we’re peaking at the right time,” Yen said.
“We’ve just got ourmojo happening a bit better at the moment.We can see the prize and we’re ready to go for it.
“Today, it was just like, ‘let’s get rid of this game and get to the one we really want to win’.
“It was a hard struggle, though. BNC do this is every year. They start off slow and finish strongly, and credit to Cherie, she really brought that side on strongly.”
Yen said defendersGeorgia McVey and Tianna Cummings were strong for her team.
“They were great and our stalwarts, Tiffany and Narelle, you can’t bypass them,” he said.
“We don’t talk a lot about them because they do it all the time, but they keep giving and giving. Their competitiveness, skill and talent is just remarkable.
“They came to the fore today and Katelyn Stansfield blitzed them as well and shot at 93 per cent.”
BNC coach Cherie Aoake-Puru lamented the “really slow start and poor finish” from her side.
“The two middle quarters we put together were quite good but we played way too slow and weren’t sharp enough, and we just didn’t finish well at all,”Aoake-Puru said.
“Credit to them, they did all the little things right from one end to the other. They were polished and came out fighting after last week, like we knew they would.
“They’ve taken it the last three years and we were a new team, we had nothing to lose going in there, but we could have played a lot better.
“We’re happy to finish in the top three with a new team, but disappointed not to get a crack at the grand final.
“Our aim was for top four and we made top three, so hopefully we can go that one step further next year.”
She saidshootersLucy Geise andCaityLobston did well with limited opportunities and DomMurphy was strong at wing defence.