Western Districts have conquered mighty Wirrulla to be crowned Mid West Netball Association A grade champions following a thrilling match at Wirrulla on Saturday.
The Bombers had lost just once all season as they aimed for a fifth successive premiership, only for Districts to secure a 53-51 triumph – their first title since 1993.
While Wirrulla had cruised into the finals, the Tigers battled hard to finish fourth and then defeated both Central Eyre and West Coast to reach the decider.
Both teams came out determined, with Districts taking an early lead.
Wirrulla began to settle and clawed their way back to trail by just one goal at quarter-time.
With the score at 16-15 it was then a very even second quarter with great pressure and determination from both teams, while excellent defensive pressure made it difficult – especially for Districts – as the teams were locked at 27-27 going into half-time.
Wirrulla started the third term on the front foot and quickly established a five-goal lead, but both teams fought hard for the ball and contested well in the goal circles.
Districts made a late comeback to lead 42-39 at three-quarter time.
With only three goals in it both teams seemed unsettled and play was scrappy in the opening minutes of the final quarter.
They went goal-for-goal with accurate shooting at both ends, and it came down to the last minute with Districts showing greater composure to win by just two goals.
Tigers player Courtney Hull was the best on court.
It was another close finish in the B grade as Central Eyre defeated West Coast 48-46 to win successive premierships.
It was a very quick start to the game and the accuracy was impressive at both ends, with Hawks just edging clear by three goals at the first break.
Central Eyre came out firing and following great defensive work were able to capitalise in attack with good long shooting.
The Hawks chipped away at the deficit but were made to work hard in the goal circle, with Central Eyre taking a 28-23 lead into half-time.
West Coast were unchanged yet two Bulldogs’ switches for the third term meant they were somewhat unsettled and this allowed the Hawks to draw level, before Central Eyre picked up the workload and accuracy under the ring to go into the final break with a three-goal advantage.
Central Eyre added more fresh legs in the fourth quarter and while Hawks fought back to equalise, the Bulldogs went ahead and were able to win by two goals.
Stacey Georgiou of Central Eyre was named the best player.
West Coast ended a perfect C grade season with a 51-23 victory against Wudinna United.
The Hawks were aiming for their 17th win from as many matches in 2018, although it took a while for both to settle.
West Coast defended all the way down the court and Nerissa Baldock made some spectacular interceptions.
Wudinna lifted and were working well together to level at 9-9 by the end of the quarter.
The Hawks made the most of any errors in the second term and were able to build a comfortable lead, with Bella Vanweenen putting away some amazing goals to see the Hawks lead by 10 at half-time.
Wudinna stemmed the onslaught in the third quarter, assisted by lineup changes and Kiara Sharpe’s reading of the play, although West Coast then managed to extend the lead to 37-22 at three-quarter time.
The Hawks’ domination was evident in the final term as Wudinna could only add one goal for a 28-goal margin.
Philomena Holmes was West Coast’s best player.
West Coast also celebrated in the D grade as they came away with a 44-33 result against Wudinna.
The 11-goal victory was the culmination of a fantastic season in which the Hawks lost just twice.
West Coast player Chelsea Matthews was the best on court.
There was only one goal in it as Wudinna defeated Central Eyre 36-35 in the Junior A grand final.
Once the teams settled in the first quarter there were minimal mistakes, while both goals attacks were dominating which led to a close game and Central Eyre just ahead at quarter-time.
The Bulldogs came out swinging in the second term with quickfire goals yet Wudinna kept trying and some great passes into the circle gave their goalies a chance to capitalise.
Central Eyre worked hard defensively and were helped by turnovers which kept them ahead by two goals.
They remained in the ascendancy early in the third quarter only for Wudinna to peg them back.
As mistakes crept in the Magpies were able to hit the lead for the first time in the match.
The fourth quarter was intense with both teams playing their hearts out and the goalies shooting well, but it was Wudinna who were able to finish the job to win by a goal.
Meika Tomney led the way for Wudinna.
West Coast got the better of Wudinna to win the Junior B decider 29-18.
The Hawks’ defence watched for any opportunities and Wudinna kept offering to see them lead by four at quarter-time.
West Coast maintained their pressure in the second term to capitalise on opportunities, while Wudinna’s defenders stepped up a notch to gain more possession.
The Hawks had extended the lead to five goals by half-time and made some positional changes for the third term which allowed Wudinna to shoot some early goals.
The Magpies worked hard and contested every pass but West Coast settled to lead by nine at the final change.
The fourth term saw West Coast’s shooters able to work off of balls played into the circle, and their defenders back up the play consistently too.
Wudinna displayed some great play down the court to show why they made the grand final, but the Hawks were just too much.
Sophie Gill of West Coast was named the best player.