Sport

Football and netball teams of the year

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December 29, 2017

Football team of the year - Leitchville-Gunbower

ANOTHER massive year of sport in the Echuca-Moama area has wrapped up, and it’s time to look back on what has been another sensational 12 months.

There’s been emotional triumphs and disappointing lows - with the high quality of sport a key constant throughout the year.

Here’s a handful of awards we think best recaps another brilliant year from our athletes.

Story of the year - Andrew Walker’s return to Echuca

!It seemingly came out of nowhere; one of Echuca’s greatest footballers was to not only return to the club, but as a playing-coach.

Andrew Walker, a 200-game Carlton veteran, will with Simon Maddox coach the Murray Bombers after Andrew Briggs announced he would step down from the role.

The significance of the appointment can’t be understated. The enthusiasm around the club grouped with VFL-calibre recruits and TAC Cup talents expected to follow means the only way is up in 2018.

Walker said he’d always seen himself moving back to his hometown, but it had come even sooner than he’d expected; the move was hastened by the opening of his business Gravity Shack just this month.

Echuca’s recruiting has proved to be some of the best in the Goulburn Valley League; the question now is can its on-field performance mirror that?

Football team of the year - Leitchville-Gunbower

Finally.

Leitchville-Gunbower, for a third straight season, faced arch-rival North Bendigo in the Heathcote and District Football League grand final.

This time was different though; the Bombers controlling the game throughout to record just the second premiership in club history, and end two years of heartbreak at the hands of the Bulldogs.

The team’s stars were too many to name, but century goalkicker Matt Perri’s sensational season coupled with six goals in the decider won’t be forgotten in a hurry.

Emotion was on full display after the stirring win, but the overriding one was plain to see - relief.

Netball team of the year - Moama

Moama’s A grade netball side was a powerful machine in 2017, bringing home the premiership for the first time in club history.

It lost just once for the season, proving too good for Tongala 41-31 in September’s grand final.

It was an emotional win, but it was hardly unexpected; the Magpies routinely took sides apart with their side featuring a bunch of the area’s most talented stars.

Charlotte Long led the way from centre as playing-coach, while Ange Slattery’s best-on-court display in the grand final was of a match-winning quality.

E-M export of the year - Alex Cheal

Echuca-Moama talents are on show across the sporting landscape, but one that caught the eye in 2017 was South Melbourne FC’s women’s captain Alex Cheal.

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