Norwood belief builds for SANFLW decider

NORWOOD’s largest losing margin of nine points this season is indicative of the Redlegs belief they can win any game according to coach Brad Ferrall. In the lead-up to tomorrow’s SANFL Women’s Grand Final, Ferrall said it was all about consistency and not dropping off that would help the underdogs become the first side to win from outside the top two.

“I think the most important thing is our pressure, our work rate and just our ability to make it a game, we just need to be consistent throughout the game, because unfortunately too many times this year we’ve shown a lack of consistency throughout the game, and it’s cost us multiple games,” he said.

“If we can just be really smart with our ball movement inside 50, I think that will help, and just defending the other end. You’ve got a very potent forwardline withe the equal leading goalkicker at the other end whose clearly a star and we just need to make sure that we keep their stars quiet.”

Norwood came within seven points of missing out on finals altogether after cutting it fine in the last few weeks of the regular season. Needing one win from the remaining three rounds prior to finals, the Redlegs suffered defeats to the Eagles (five points) and Sturt (two) to open the door for both the Double Blues and West Adelaide, who Norwood sank in Round 14 by six points to secure its finals spot.

“I feel like we had a target on backs from especially Sturt and West. They wanted the spot we were in. They were always going to be pretty desperate to beat us. It was just about belief to be honest,” Ferrall said.

“When your biggest losing margin is nine points, you know you should be and can be in every game that you play. “It was just about the belief and getting the girls to believe in themselves because it’s clearly they’ve got the potential and the ability to do big things, it was just reaffirming the belief in themselves.”

Since then, Norwood has strung back-to-back wins on the road against Central District and Glenelg to reach the decider, which is being played at the Redlegs’ homeground. While the coincidence has caused plenty of eyebrows raised, Ferrall confirmed the fact that Channel 7, and not the SANFL had selected the ground prior to the finals series due to The Parade having the best lighting for a twilight game, the timeslot the broadcasters had chosen.

“It was predetermined but that was on Channel 7, so I do get a little bit sick of hearing that Norwood have got what they wanted from the SANFL,” Ferrall said. “Channel 7 demanded that that it was twilight, and there was only one club that’s invested in its lights to the standard that could be broadcast and that club got into the grand final.”

However in saying that, Ferrall questioned whether or not The Parade would truly be a homeground advantage for the Redlegs, saying the club would be happy to “play on the moon” if it meant playing in a grand final.

“I was talking to someone today and you’d play a grand final on the moon, you don’t care where it is,” he said. “I mean is our homeground an advantage? Our win-loss record suggests it’s not, we probably would have been better playing somewhere else. We’re two and three so we’ve won less than half the games there, we only played five home games this year anyway, so I’d say it isn’t a huge advantage.”

While the decision was yet to be confirmed, it is believed Norwood will warm-up in the away rooms of the western stand, but would reconvene in their home rooms post-match for either celebrations or commiserations once the dust had settled.

Adding to the intrigue of the day is the fact that Norwood was the only side that defeated South Adelaide twice this season, handing the Panthers two of their three regular season losses, and both by 20-plus points. The last of which came in Round 8 when the Redlegs kept South to its lowest ever score of three behinds in a 25-point victory.

Ferrall said while it was great to get those wins, the playing group believed it could beat any opponent it played such was the belief within the club, and it was now going to be about handling the “bigger moments”.

“It’s not just South, we believe we can beat anyone and we’ve shown that we’re competitive with everyone,” he said. “The Eagles are the only team that beat us twice and they were both narrow margins, so I believe we can win, and the players do too.

“Do I think it’s going to be easy? Do I think we’re going to keep them goalless? Absolutely not. But it’s certainly I think it will be a really a polished and tight finish and at the end of the day we can win it, it will just come down to who can handle the bigger moments better I think.”

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