MARYBOROUGH will have the chance to end a lengthy netball premiership drought, when the 17-and-under Magpies line up in a grand final in two weeks’ time.
The young Magpies set up their grand final appearance by stunning Golden Square in Saturday’s second semi-final against Golden Square at the QEO.
It was the second time in three meetings this season that the Magpies have beaten the Bulldogs.
Finals appearances have been few and far between for Maryborough at all netball levels in recent seasons.
No Magpies team has competed in a grand final since their 17-and-under team last did in 2010.
The club’s last netball premiership came when its B-grade team won in 1996.
The Magpies have not contested an A-grade premiership decider since finishing runners-up in 2001.
But the Magpies youngsters have set themselves up with an excellent chance of premiership success following their convincing 64-43 win.
Magpies A-grade star Jordan Macilwain, who jointly coaches the team with Chloe Egan, said a grand final appearance was a great reward for her players’ efforts all season.
“The girls were absolutely stoked with how they went on the court (on Saturday),” she said.
“I don’t think it’s quite sunk in yet for the girls that it’s a major league and a fantastic achievement.
“Last year we made the first final in A-grade, but it’s probably been at least four or five years since we’ve made a final in under-17s.”
Not wanting to get ahead of themselves, Macilwain said anything was possible for all three teams still involved in the finals race, including preliminary final combatants Golden Square and Sandhurst, which defeated Kangaroo Flat 54-27 in the other semi-final on Sunday.
One of the tightest 17-and-under home and away seasons in history ended with four teams – top-placed Golden Square, Kangaroo Flat, Maryborough and Gisborne – all on 12 wins.
Fifth-placed Sandhurst, which has advanced to the preliminary final, scored 11 wins.
The Magpies were well served in their semi-final win by BFNL 17-and-under inter-league representative Keely Hare, Tori Chandler and Ella Tranter.
But Macilwain said each of the girls who took the court had contributed plenty to the win.
“It was fantastic – we had a very big group of supporters come over with the girls,” she said.
“We’re all now looking forward to the grand final.”