SANDHURST is hoping to cap its dream run through the BFNL 17-and-under final series with a premiership on Saturday.
In the most open 17-and-under season in many years, the young Dragons have withstood three tough finals to set up a grand final showdown against Maryborough.
All three finals have been cut-throat, starting with an elimination final against Gisborne and culminating in last week’s four goal preliminary final win over Golden Square.
Joint coach Jannaya Webb, who shares the duties with Laura Parkhill, said despite knowing her side was capable of beating all other finals contenders on any given day, the grand final berth was a bit of a surprise.
“The top five were all really close throughout the year and positions on the ladder seemed to juggle from week to another,” she said.
“I didn’t expect to beat Gisborne at all in the elimination final, I picked them to win the premiership as I thought they were a pretty well-rounded team.”
Webb said the Dragons would go into the premiership decider with a degree of confidence, with the ledger between the two teams for the year standing at one-all.
“We probably haven’t played them at full strength, as in our team being full-strength, but I’m not sure they were at full-strength when they beat us,” she said.
“Hopefully we can be consistent and give them a good match. They were in some phenomenal from when they played Golden Square a couple of weeks ago.
“We’ll go in as underdogs but we have a very young group of players - for us it’s just a matter of consistency.”
Keys for the Dragons will include top-age player Rebecca Eade, who has spent much of the season playing A-grade netball for Lockington-Bamawm United and finished fourth in the league medal count behind Maryborough’s Maggie Tranter, and Ruby Turner.
“Bec is a real workhorse, a nice player and a quiet achiever,” Webb said.
“She’s been in our side for a couple of years now and travels down from Lockington to train and play.
“She stepped up to play a few A-reserve games this year and has been sitting on their bench in finals.”
Turner is one of the team’s youngest players at 14 and has shown remarkable versatility, starting the season at goal shooter, but spending most of the finals at goal keeper.
The Dragons are captained by Keeley Jones.
Their full squad includes Piper Dunlop, who represented Victoria at this year’s Australian Under-16 Junior Basketball Championships, Bronte Mc Connachie, Darcey Lloyd, Matisse Perez, Ebony Bayliss, Emmie Banfield , Ashlee O'Shea and Pip Robertson.
The 17-and-under grand final starts at 9am.