United’s under 17 netballers seek three in a row

By Brayden May

THREE is the magic number for Echuca United's under 17 netballers as they aim to win a third straight Murray Netball League premiership.

The Eagles will enter tomorrow's preliminary final against Rumbalara as red hot favourites, having lost just one game this season.

And their path became much clearer last weekend after Deniliquin - who also lost just a single match this year - exited the finals in straight sets.

When Tiff Bartram assumed the role of coach at the beginning of the season, she was amazed by the talent she had at her disposal.

But her players knew ability wouldn't be enough to lead them to premiership glory.

"They've been an amazing group of girls to work with," Bartram said.

"I can't thank (A grade coach) Lisa Drysdale enough for asking me to come on board with United. It's been a great experience.

"The team has put in a lot of work to get to where they are. We've tried to play a different style this season and I think the girls have handled it very well.

"The biggest focus was to get them ready to make the step between junior and senior netball but a premiership would be the cherry on top."

United have been relentless at both ends of the court throughout the season, holding the best offensive and defensive record of all 14 teams.

And Bartram said she couldn't be more pleased with how her team has performed.

"Nothing I ever ask of the girls is too much," she said.

"Every little goal I have set for them along the way has been ticked off. Sometimes as a coach you are most pleased when the smaller goals are met.

"All of them are a dream to coach."

While Bartram is full of praise for her side's on court performance, she said their ability to give back to the club is just as impressive.

"They are all extremely passionate about United," she said.

"Whenever they are asked to do one of their duties like working in the canteen they don't question it.

"But most importantly they stay and support other teams all day. Having that commitment from a young age is critical to building strong relationships."