Redbacks cap massive netball grand final day

A 2017 North Central netball grand final day that always shaped as prosperous for Wedderburn ended with a flourish.

The Redbacks were represented in all six grand finals played at Boort on Saturday.

While the day started shakily for the league’s powerhouse club with losses in the under-13 and under-16 B matches, the Redbacks stormed home to capture the under-16 A, A-grade, B-grade and C-grade titles.

In one of three nail-biting encounters on the day, Wedderburn prevailed  28-25 in a see-sawing under-16 A premiership decider.

The Redbacks came from a goal down at three-quarter time to win by three, after scores were tied at 5-5 at quarter time and 14-14 at the main break.

Grace Lockhart, who spent three quarters at goal attack and one at goal shooter, was best on court.

A powerhouse goal shooting performance from Deanne Caserta propelled the Redbacks to a convincing 62-25 B-grade win over Donald.

Caserta shot 48 goals for the match, with great accuracy to be voted best on court ahead of Redbacks goal defence Ella Turnbull.

Wedderburn rounded out a triumphant day by winning the C-grade flag 40-21 against Boort.

Netball club president Sharyn Lockhart, who captained the club’s B-grade premiership team and played at goal keeper, said it was a remarkable day for the club.

“A-grade had a tough encounter, it was the closest match they’ve had this season,” she said.

“Sea Lake really pushed us all the way and kept fighting back, but we were lucky to get over them in the end.

“I‘m sure the girls were worried all the way through the game, it wasn’t over until the final whistle .”

Lockhart paid huge credit to joint coaches Shelley DeAraugo and Sophie Taylor for a magnificent effort all season.

“They’ve been very supportive of all the players at the club and always pushing everyone to give 100 per cent and improve,” she said.

“Hopefully  they will want to take the job on again and they will be more than welcome to lead us the way they have this year.

“It was tremendous to hit back after last year’s grand final loss in both the A and B-grade – we’ve come back with a vengeance.”

This year was the third straight season Wedderburn had reached all six grand finals.

(Sophie Taylor and Shelley DeAraugo) have been very supportive of all the players at the club and always pushing everyone to give 100 per cent and improve.

Sharyn Lockhart

Its return of four premierships was one more than last year.

Lockhart congratulated Donald on its 23-20 under-13 win and Birchip-Watchem on a polished 35-19 premiership win in the under-16 B division.

She reserved special praise for Sea Lake Nandaly Tigers, who in their second year in the league, reached a pair of grand finals and were brave in defeat in both.

“As I said earlier in the week, they’ve only been in the league two years and they have dominated the competition,” she said.

“Usually it will take a new team a few years to settle in, but they’ve just stepped in and fitted in so well around the league and really shown how it’s done.

“They are certainly a very nice club and have a lot of nice girls.”

It was a satisfying day on a personal level for the netball president, whose daughters Emma, Grace, Aliza and Olivia all featured in premierships.

Emma was one of the stars of the A-grade win at wing defence, Grace was best on court in under-16 A  and also played in the B-grade win, while young twins Aliza and Olivia were part of the under-16 win after earlier playing under-13s.

The girls’ brother Matt Lockhart also emerged with a premiership medallion as part of the Redbacks’ reserves football win, but was unable to take his place in the men’s hockey team following a collarbone injury earlier in the season.