ROSEDALE fended off Churchill in a fiery battle to take out the North Gippsland A grade netball premiership and complete a near-perfect season, winning Saturday’s grand final 33-31.
Both sides were hot in defence in the opener and it took six minutes of high pressure play before Churchill drew first blood and hit the scoreboard.
A stretch of goal-for-goal play followed, driven in the midcourt with an intense centre stand-off between league best and fairest Blue Carly Johnstone and Churchill’s Rachael Loechel.
Scores were level at 7-7 towards the end of the first term before the Cougars shot true on the whistle to take a one-goal lead into quarter-time.
They carried the momentum into the second and had moved away to a three-goal lead by the half-way mark of the second term.
With stakes high and pressure mounting, tensions flared and umpires issued two cautions within as many minutes. The game became physical as players spilled on the slippery court.
The Cougars’ goal circle, led by shooter Kassie Meall, was on song and seemingly couldn’t miss as they went into half-time with a three-goal lead.
Rosedale’s defence, led by Amy Harrison, returned with a surge after the main break and began to force turnovers at every opportunity.
The Blues hit the front mid-way through the term, as coach Staci Scott started to assert herself in the goal circle and helped her side overturn the deficit to lead by one at the final change.
Churchill emerged more desperate in the fourth quarter and looked to have the upper hand, but Rosedale took full advantage of its opportunities and managed to stem a late surge to win by two goals.
Best-on-court was awarded to Rosedale’s Amy Harrison for her stellar performance in defence.
Coach Staci Scott praised Churchill in the wake of the Blues’ win.
“We’ve had a lot of very close games with Churchill throughout the season so we didn’t think this was going to be any different,” she said.
“It really does mean a lot to us and our girls did a fantastic job today and it’s testament to the season.”
Scott said Rosedale was “focused on intensity and maintain that for four quarters”.
“We did dip and trough but we hit the peak at the right time and I’m really, really proud of [them] all,” she said.
“I think today’s standard of netball, if we can continue that across the whole league we’re heading in the right direction.”
GLENGARRY won the B grade premiership, defeating Woodside 38-32. Magpie Kayla Muller was named best-on-court.
SALE City won premierships in C and D grade.
The Bulldogs defeated Traralgon-Tyers United 27-22 in C grade, with Kate Bicknell best-on-court.
In D grade, Sale City avenged its first loss of the season a fortnight earlier to Heyfield by defeating the Kangaroos 38-19 in the grand final. The umpires adjudged Sale City’s Lynne Oldfield the best player.
HEYFIELD came from two goals behind at three-quarter-time to defeat Yarram 27-24 in the under 17s. Abbie Ross was best-on-court for the Kangaroos.
IN the under 15s, TTU upset Sale City 27-25, inflicting the first loss of the season on the Bulldogs. Bomber Piper Conway won the best-on-court medal.