Four junior netball teams from Yarrawonga played in grand finals of the Wangaratta Netball Association competition on Saturday.
Three out of the four teams came away with premiership wins, celebrating a great season of netball for the local players.
Yarra Navy (Premier A) coached by Lauren Mulquiney finished runners-up, a great result coming from third position on the ladder to make the grand final for a team of young girls playing their first season in the top section of the Wangaratta competition.
The girls played some fabulous netball in the first two weeks of finals to put out the other YFNC team and then the highly fancied Rovers and were going to need to put together a very solid game to defeat a much older and taller Magpies team in the grand final.
The girls got off to a slow start allowing the Magpies to get the jump in the first quarter before a much more competitive second quarter saw them down by 8 at half time.
They continued to fight during the third quarter but Magpies were able to draw away again in the last to win 35 to 17.
Brooke K, Georgia and Lara were fantastic and fast in attack.
Eloise, Stella and Brooke B gave great drive through the midcourt while Annie, Tess and Kyah contested hard in the defence end.
The girls’ commitment to training and their development during the season has been outstanding with exciting signs for the future!
Pigeons White, coached by Donna Head, took out the grand final to be premiers of section 4.
The team, known as the ‘Ninja Pigeons’ announced themselves in the first week of the finals, coming from 10 goals down at half time to equal the scores just before the final siren.
After 2 x 3 minutes of time on, the Pigeons were victorious against a team of very tall girls, some of who were 4 years older than some of the Yarrawonga players.
The girls needed nothing more to believe they were real grand final contenders.
On grand final day, with a few butterflies in their stomachs, the girls had a bit of a shaky start in the first quarter with Appin Park (Thunderstorm) scoring a quick 6 goals to stamp their authority on the game. Coach Donna, with a very level head, helped the girls to steady and they scored 3 toward the end of the first quarter to stay in touch.
The girls did not give up and slowly but surely started to take control of the game.
The parents had chewed their fingernails to the bone but continued to boost the spirits of the girls with lots of cheering from the sidelines.
Polly McCrae was outstanding in GK (channeling her inner Hannah Symes), ably assisted by Maya Hargreaves and Elli Head.
Moving the ball through the centre were Annabel Hart, Morgan McCrae, Eliza Nagle, Ava Vodusek and Chloe Casley.
Also outstanding in the goals were Jess Freeman and Eliana Martin who were not fazed by the occasion and shot well to win the game 19 to 13.
Pigeons Blue, under the guidance of coach Amanda Wheaton, won on grand final day to be named premiers of section 2.
Pigeons Blue finished second on the ladder in section 2 and had a tough battle against top team Myrtleford in the semi-finals.
The Pigeons played a superb team game in the semi’s though, with every player giving their all to show the full strength of this talented side.
The Pigeons surprised top team Myrtleford with their skill and discipline, beating them by 5 goals to book a berth straight into the grand final.
The girls came up against Wangaratta Strikers in the grand final on Saturday and coach Amanda Wheaton was confident that the girls had prepared well to give it their best against the very tall Strikers team.
The first quarter was low scoring and extremely tight with the Strikers using their height well to take the lead 3-2.
It was in the second quarter that the Pigeons nerves settled and goalers Georgie Hemphill and Scarlett York hit their straps to outscore the Strikers 12-5.
Mid-courters Remi Poll, Mikyah Frauenfelder and Olivia Corso moved the ball extremely well down the court to feed the goalers, whose accuracy was never far from true.
From the second quarter onwards, the Pigeons went from strength to strength, with Jemma Adkins, Chloe Wheaton and Makayla Woosnam tenacious and rock solid in defence, shutting down many of the opposition attempts to get it into the goal ring.
Pigeons Blue went on to win 21 to 10 and deserved every bit of their winning glory as every player contributed to the win in a display of team work, good sportsmanship and skilful netball.
A great result to cap off a fantastic season by these talented young girls.
Pigeons Navy took out the section 5 grand final with the help of coach Bindi Dobinson.
Looking back on the start of the season, it was hard to imagine the girls would be playing in the grand final, let alone winning it.
It was never going to be an easy game and the girls knew they had to pull out everything they had to stay within reach from the very start.
The first quarter saw the Pigeons just a goal down but by half time they had fallen 3 behind.
The girls went into the 3rd quarter determined and managed to bring it back to 12 all by quarters end. The last quarter started goal for goal but midway through the girls dug deep and stepped it up a gear to get the break they needed.
They continued to play hard, with vital turnovers down the court to bring it home by 5 goals, winning 21 to 16.
It was a brilliant team effort and showed just how much the girls had developed in both confidence and ability over the season.
Mia Kennedy’s shooting accuracy must be mentioned with her shooting 12 out of 13 attempts.