Souths Lions coach Trude Yen said her side “didn’t know what they were up against” when they were thumped 68-31 by newcomers and eventual dual premiers West Leagues Balance this time last year.
On Saturday, the Lions know exactly the challenge ahead when they take on Wests in the Newcastle open netball championship grand final rematch from 3.45pm at National Park. Wests and the Lions sit one-two on the ladder after two wins each.
In 2017, Wests ended Souths’ three-year premiership reign and 38-match unbeaten streak in emphatic fashion before the Lions bounced back 42-36.
Wests regained the ascendancy to dominate the finals and have returned with an unchanged squad.
Souths have added young representative defenders Nakita Jackson and Eliza Hand as well as experienced mid-court player Natalie Hilder.
Yen was happy with her side's development this season but also prepared for a “very clever” Wests line-up.
“Every game is about winning and if a loss does come, it’s really about that learning process,” she said. “It’s the first round and we’ve got the three new players coming in, so it’s about getting the team to work together well and I think we’re doing really well.
“It has always been a steady run to the championships for us and we’ve paced ourselves through the season to get to where we need to be, so we’re in no rush.”
Also at 3.45pm, Maryville Tavern play Pride. Nova take on BNC and Wests No.2 play Forsythes at 2.30pm.
On Thursday night, Hunter United lost to Hills 64-55 in Metro League division one.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.