Bears Lagoon-Serpentine coach Cara Bastian praises her side's development

BEARS Lagoon-Serpentine might have missed finals, but coach Cara Bastian says she was pleased with the progress the Bears showed during the 2017 season.

The Bears's season ended last Saturday with a hard-fought loss to Newbridge.

It left them one win behind eventual fifth-placed team Calivil United.

The Bears were left to rue a pair of late season losses to seventh-placed Maiden Gully YCW by five goals and Calivil United (two goals) after occupying a spot in the top five for much of the second half of the season.

But a return of six wins, after only one the previous year, represented solid improvement from a club, which had finished eighth, seventh and eighth in its past three seasons.

“I think every coach is disappointed to not make finals; that was my aim at the start of the year,” Bastian said.

“That was the directive the club gave me, to head towards finals, and obviously a grand final berth is what we all want.

“I was little disappointed we didn’t get up over YCW and Calivil he second time around, that would have certainly cemented us in the finals for this year.

“Had we had another few minutes against Calivil, I’m sure we could have rolled them, the girls had a fair bit of momentum.

“But you can always think about what might have happened, that’s the way the game fell.”

This season was Bastian’s first at the helm at Bears Lagoon-Serpentine after crossing from Bendigo league club Strathfieldsaye.

She previously played in the LVFNL with YCW during a stint which yielded multiple premierships and best and fairest wins.

Bastian believed Bears Lagoon-Serpentine could take plenty of positives from its season.

“For me, watching the girls all through the grades improve from the start of the season is true testament to their coaches and the way have adapted to what I’ve brought to the club,” she said.

“My mandate was to improve the skill set of all of the girls and I hope I have achieved that.

“The club’s a fantastic club, very open and welcoming to new players and new people; I have had an amazing year.”

Sarah Perry and rising star Caitlyn Hocking formed a strong defensive combination for the Bears.

Wing defence Jaimi Elgar was one of her team’s most consistent performers, while Emma Brooks was a steady performer in goals.

An obvious highlight of the Bears’ season was their round eight defeat of Calivil United, which catapulted them into the top five for the first time in several seasons.

Also pleasing was their ability to improve the margin of its losses against the league's top sides in the second half of the season.

Meanwhile, finals in LVFNL netball get underway this weekend, with Newbridge and Pyramid Hill to clash at Mitiamo in Saturday's qualifying final and Bridgewater and Calivil United to meet Calivil in Sunday's elimination final.