Congratulations to all teams who have played in finals over the last few weeks. I have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of netball.
Well done to Victor Harbor, Yankalilla and Strathalbyn for hosting a very successful final series.
Special mention to Great Southern Netball Association (GSNA) Management for a great season and managing to get to finals fairly unscathed by COVID. They managed to keep the season on track with a small speed hump.
I am sure you have all been waiting to read my thoughts on the final game of the season.
I was extremely impressed with the umpiring of this year's game. GSNA got a big thumb up for that one!
The game....oh, my goodness, where do I start?
Ok, I admit it, I got it wrong again. I must be a coach's curse with my predictions. The last two weeks, I selected the losers to win....oops!
Where will I start?
The umpire blew her whistle and the game started with the intensity that I assumed it would. Hey, it's a grand final and everyone wanted to start strong. It went goal for goal for the first few minutes and I thought I was in for a very close game.
At quarter time, Victor were up by 4
At half time, Victor were up by 9
I am big on the game is not over until the fat lady sings or in my case the 'canteen lady', however, at half time Willunga's and GSNA's Coach's of the Year Ising and George had to make a change if they were to stop Victor.
They made a change in attack.
Willunga's Amy Bull and Nicole Lander were solid in attack, but they were constantly hounded by Victor's Taylor McKinnon and Kelly White and I think it was the pressure that the Victor girls put on Amy and Nicole that caused a few uncharacteristic missed goals and critical turnovers.
I am a very big fan of Willunga's WA Morgan Hill and the Hank sisters Georgia and Tessa, through their mid court. It was Georgia's 100th game and she is one experienced finals campaigner, so I expected big things from them all.
This year, Victor's coach Pauline Edwards put her faith in young Taya Forbes. She was one of GSNA's 2021 Rising Stars and I can see why. She played a ripper and considering she had already played in an Inter 1 grand final on the same day, she is certainly a star of the future.
Victor's Laura Chigwidden earned her spot in their team and shut down Willunga's Morgan Hill, who was named in this year's GSNA Team of the Year.
Actually, if we are talking about Team of the Year, Willunga had five players named in the team and their coaches. On paper, they were unbeatable. I thought they were unbeatable.
Let's get to the Victor attack and the three 'old stalwarts' Alicia Montgomerie in WA, Amanda Martin in GA and Di Johns at GS. These girls were unstoppable and they showed just how good they are.
Victor's Di Johns has been the most successful Goal Shooter in GSNA for the past 15 years and Alicia Montgomery, has and always been the best WA that the association has had for the past 15 years - closely followed by Willunga's Morgan Hill.
I truly believe that a coach will determine the success of a team. If the team loses, we blame the coach, if it wins, then the coach did their job.
Victor have been fortunate enough to have Pauline Edwards coach them for 15 years. Did you all know that Pauline was the assistant coach of the Thunderbirds? No, me either, and in Pauline's 15 years, she has coached the team to many grand final wins.
There has never been a more successful coach in the GSNA and the association should be extremely proud of her and the club's achievements.
I have been around for many, many years and it's always been "let's beat Victor"
Well, this year, the Victor Harbor girls showed and proved they are the best and never underestimate the strength and resilience of a great team and club.
Victor won 68-51.