There were a few sore heads and some bleary eyes, but nothing could wipe the smiles from the Bendigo Spirit players, coaches and officials’ faces as they celebrated a historic WNBL championship yesterday.
Most were running on empty after a night of partying, but the adrenalin of delivering Bendigo a fairytale national title kept spirits high.
Sunday night’s revelry began at the scene of the famous victory – Bendigo Stadium – before the Spirit and Townsville Fire mingled at The Foundry Hotel.
From there it was onto local nightspot Huha, which opened its doors to welcome the champions.
Some found their way to bed by 3am, some later, grabbing a few hours’ rest before festivities resumed.
Spirit coach Bernie Harrower fielded a call from ABC radio from his bed at 8am yesterday morning, only hours after he watched the grand final replay with daughter Kristi.
Everybody wanted a piece of the Spirit and the community-minded club shared itself around yesterday for “Mad Monday”.
With the players, assistant coaches and others dressed in costume the Spirit gathered for lunch at The Match, before heading to The McIvor Hotel.
No prizes were handed-out for best dressed, but grand final MVP Kelsey Griffin would have been in the running for another award for her seamless transition to become a Geelong AFL player.
Spirit veteran Kristi Harrower might have worried a few teams in other sporting codes had she knocked on their doors after dressing as an ASADA drug tester, while Chelsea Aubry donned one of the legendary Australian Opals’ skin-hugging lycra uniforms.
Maddie Garrick and Rebecca Campigli came as Mario and Princess Peach from the Nintendo video games, although Luigi had mysteriously disappeared.
Hogwarts witches (Gabe Richards, Kelly and Andrea Wilson) partied with Ninja Turtle Raphael (Hayley Munro). The Spirit will be more recognisable tonight when they are hailed at a civic reception from 5.30pm at The Foundry.
That will be followed by the club’s MVP awards night from 6.30pm.
Tickets are still available and can be bought by contacting Spirit administrator Jess Lee on 0427 997 675.
Official engagements will conclude after that, but this party doesn’t look like stopping anytime soon.