Strathmerton 42 d
Picola United 35
As the sun blazed over Berrigan, it was Strathmerton that had ice in its veins as it took out the Picola District Netball League A-grade grand final against Picola United on Saturday.
Played at a blinding tempo, Strathmerton looked robust across the court to complete its fairytale end to the year after finishing in fifth place during the home and away season.
Bulldogs goal keeper Tegan Sutton produced one of the most polished performances witnessed during this year's competition, refusing United a sniff under the ring and commandeering her defence to a 42-35 win.
“It was very warm, so it was in very tough conditions, we prepared though, so we were ready for the fight and never gave up,” Strathmerton coach Caitlyn Price said.
“We had some really good set plays which we were able to get down and a couple of times we had to work back, readjust and open up the court to go again.
“We had a strong defensive set up for down the court and when we are on, we’re on and it really helped today especially in those hot conditions.”
Two minutes in, a toddler came charging onto the court and was millimetres from being cleaned up, signifying the nature of the game to those watching — neither team would accept defeat easily.
Shooter Kelley Laidlaw was firing on all cylinders for the Bulldogs, who looked unstoppable inside the shooting circle as she twisted left and right to receive the ball and send her side ahead.
With Sutton breathing down her neck, United shooter Emilly Atkinson found trouble settling in early and missed crucial shots as Strathmerton pulled away to a six-goal lead at quarter-time.
However, Atkinson found her feet during the second quarter, sinking eight goals to close the gap to five at the half, but Strathmerton’s aggressive force through the middle had United on the back foot following the midpoint.
There was vigourous cheers bellowing out from the Picola United stands, but Strathmerton would not budge defensively and rode the wave of momentum home to claim victory.
Price touched on what the win meant to her as the players huddled around her in a state of jubilation 30 minutes following the win.
“They are just an awesome bunch of girls and there is no-one that I would rather celebrate more than with them, so I am so happy to get the win for them,” she said.