SWAN Hill has taken home its third consecutive premiership in the Central Murray Football Netball League’s A grade competition, with a commanding performance against Woorinen at Alan Garden Netball Centre on Saturday.
With the teams finishing in the top two at the end of the home and away season, and going neck and neck in a close second semi-final, onlookers knew they were in for a tight tussle in the decider.
The pressure was on from the opening pass, with the Swans inching out to an early lead.
A lob towards the goal circle from Swan Hill wing attack Toni Meney was hotly contested, with the Swans gaining control. A quick pass to goal shooter Emily Patterson saw her hit her mark.
But sharp shooting from Tigers goal shooter Tayla Stanley helped to claw back the deficit, finishing the first term 9-11 Swan Hill’s way.
In the second, the ball travelled from end-to-end with neither side able to find the ring.
A high-flying intercept from Swan Hill goal keeper Mollie Quinn turned the ball over, sending it to the Swans goal circle.
But the Tigers kept up the pressure, gaining control of the ball and passing it back down the court to Stanley who closed the gap to 17-21.
It was to be the last scoring shot for the Tigers in the second, with the Swans adding two more to their number by the half time break.
Back on in the third, Woorinen struggled to contain the Swans, with an excellent long shot from goal attack Kelly Stanger adding to the tally.
Coordinated centre court play between centre Natalie Dullard, wing attack Kelsey McCoy and wing defence Rachael Moloney continuously fed the ball to the goal circle.
At the close of the third, the score remained Swan Hill’s way, extending their lead to 15.
But the Tigers weren’t prepared to concede, coming back with an excellent opening in the fourth, with Stanley shooting five in a row before the Swans managed to find the ring.
But in the end it wasn’t to be for Woorinen, with the final score tilting the Swans way 47-39.
Swans coach Madeleine Foott said the girls had worked hard over the season to take home their third consecutive premiership.
“[We’re feeling] unbelievable, it was a fantastic game the girls were amazing and they really dug deep,” she said.
“It has been a really big couple of months, but they did a great job and fought hard.”
Losing by just one goal to Woorinen in the second semi-final, the Swans had to fight for their spot in the premiership decider.
“We had to fight our way through, but I think it is sometimes best to keep playing and have a run last week,” Foott said.
“Grand finals are always close, you never win them by much, we just knew that if we ever got a lead we had to make sure we kept it, because we didn’t in the second semi — we had a lead and we let it go — so that was in our minds.
“It was really great to come out and have a win today — it was phenomenal.”