If one headed from Dimboola to Warracknabeal last Saturday morning, one may have thought that Dimboola was the playing in a grand final.
The road to Warracknabeal had signs, balloons and streamers on every post that a group of fans had left very early, to show off the green and gold.
Its was all for the 17 and Under netballers in front of a large crowd who took on the Horsham Demons in a nail biting game at Anzac Park Warracknabeal.
By the time the game started at 11.35 am, Horsham had already won the 13 and Under netball, the 15 and Under by a narrow margin of one goal in the 14 and Under and were hungry to own the 17 and Under trophy.
Dimboola started the game with much confidence and were the first to put a score on the board.
They had three goals up before Horsham found the goal scorer and the green and gold streamers and flags were going wild. Zanaiya Bergen was working like a clock on the goals, while in the centre Mackenzie Ryen fought fiercely to keep the ball at the Dimboola end. Ruby Redford worked hard and kept her goal rate high while the wing defence was ready for the Demons errors with Sophie Warner making sure she was clear of her opponents to take advantage of the possessions. The amazing work of Stephanie Glover, who can leap tall building with a single bound, forced many errors from the Demons scorers. The first quarter saw Dimboola girls lead by three goals.
The second quarter thing became a little more challenging with the the Demons ‘settling a bit’ and and started their campaign on Dimboola. Dimboola kept the pressure on as they continued to keep the ball moving. A couple of umpire decisions rattled the Roo’s a little, with Mackenzie Ryen left in the centre not knowing what the umpire wanted. This unsettled the Roo’s and gave Horsham the opportunity to grab a chance of getting ahead. At half time Dimboola had only a one goal advantage.
Some fresh legs in the centre, where Delta Wardle replaced Mackenzie Ryen and Macey Laverty replaced Sophie Warner at the beginning of the third quarter. A tactic coach Kellie Laverty and Sharon Bartholomew had done in other games to their advantage. Horsham made a change to their centre player. Zanaiya Bergen got a little ‘off the pace’ missing a few goal opportunities and the team became a little unsettled, allowing the Demons to take advantage. Ruby Redford made up for Zanaiya Bergen and kept the score up, however Horsham managed to swing the lead to a three goal advantage at the end of the third quarter.
With a little settling from the coach, the girls came out in the fourth and gave it their very best shot. This was a grand final and the very experienced Horsham Demons were also determined, now that they had the lead and could smell the win.
Zanaiya Bergen settled down and Stephanie Glover continued defending their position with her high leaps. The real contest was in the centre with Delta Wardle, Macey Laverty and Olivier Lehmann making possession difficult for the Demons. This nail biting quarter saw goal for goal action and either side were not going to give up the title as the 2018 grand final winners.
Unfortunately the Horsham Demons did not give Dimboola a chance to break the score to their favour with the final quarter seeing both teams scoring 11 goals making Horsham the 2018 Grand Final Winners. The final score was Dimboola 46 defeated by Horsham 49.
The Roo’s were a little unlucky in the third quarter which was the decider.
After the game Coach Kellie Laverty said, “I am so proud of the girls. They gave it all they could and played a tough game against the Demons and never gave up”
Next season the Roo’s 17 and Under will only have one or two players who will move into the Senior ranks while the remaining players will be back again in 2019 with a lot more experience under their belts.