Maiden Gully YCW score two junior netball flags

MAIDEN Gully YCW has laid the foundations for a bright future with a pair of superb junior grade LVFNL grand final wins.

The Eagles started the day in style with their under-15s racing to a 59-46 premiership win over Pyramid Hill.

They followed up with a dramatic overtime victory against Bridgewater in an enthralling 17-and-under contest.

Scores were locked at 45-apiece following an intense 60 minutes of netball, necessitating two extra five minute halves.

The Eagles got the jump on the Mean Machine to notch a 6-4 lead after the first period, sealing a thrilling 55-53 win after both sides scored four goals to close out the game.

The flag win reversed a two-goal loss to the Mean Machine in the second semi-final and did not come without some drama.

Maiden Gully YCW was without its star goaler Tess Keating, who injured her ankle while playing for Sandhurst in a Bendigo Strathdale Netball Association final on Friday night.

In her absence, Maddi Dobelli stepped up to produce a polished display of goal shooting to be the umpires’ choice as best on court.

Eagles coach Jo Artavilla said she was proud of her girls’ efforts to overcome the loss of their teammate Keating and withstand several sustained challenges from Bridgewater.

“We had to change the line-up, so I couldn’t have asked for more than what they brought today (Saturday),” she said.

“Maddi Dobelli went into goals and was just really strong and played a great game.

“I wasn’t overly confident (going into overtime) as I knew we only had seven (players) and they’d be running out of puff.

“But I thought if we could get ahead just that little bit we might hold on and they did.

“Our goalers held their nerve when we needed them.”

Eagles 15-and-under coach Leisa Barry was similarly chuffed with her team’s performance in downing a persistent Pyramid Hill, which made it all the way to the grand final from fourth-place, with an overtime finals win included.

“We only had the one loss against Calivil this season and have a pretty versatile team,” she said.

“Each of these players do their job when they come on the court.

“We thought we had the best team in the league this season, but it still comes down to who is best on the day and what works and what doesn’t.

“There was a chance the nerves would get to the girls, and they had a phase where they dropped off a bit, but they came back fighting.”

Barry - a star of the Eagles’ A-grade team - and Artavilla hoped the premiership wins would give the Eagles a solid base on which to build future senior premiership success.

Goal attack Tiarni Baxter was best on court for the Eagles, narrowly ahead of defensive teammate Mackenzie Harrison.

Meanwhile, Bridgewater secured a trio of premiership wins, with victories in the B-grade, C-grade and C-reserve.

The Mean Machine defeated Maiden Gully YCW 51-37 in C-reserve, with Tessie Symes best on court;  beat Newbridge 40-28 to claim a third-straight C-grade flag with Claire Harrison best on court; and came from behind to beat Maiden Gully 55-54 in the B-grade.

Mean machine B-grade coach Kym Childs said she was impressed with her team’s effort to regroup following a four-goal loss to the Eagles in their semi-final, despite finishing the season as minor premiers.

“We had to fight our way back into the grand final and today we showed how to do it,” she said.

“I thought we were gone for (in the final quarter), there was a turnover at the end and we got up by a couple (of goals), and I was just hoping there just wasn’t much time left.

“Fortunately there wasn’t much left on that timer.”

Childs paid credit to her bench coach Liz Gray and A-grade coach Meg Allen for helping her juggle the demands of a playing and coaching.

The B-grade win was the Mean Machine’s second-straight in a grand final, but first under Childs, with last season’s premiership line-up coached by Ange Tremain.

Eagles joint coach Christie Griffiths was named best on court