THE dust has barely settled on Elmore's gut-wrenching one goal preliminary loss, but the Bloods are already looking forward to next season.
In the wake of last Saturday's 50-49 defeat, which delivered Colbinabbin an eighth-straight grand final appearance, Bloods coach Sue Borserio was already meeting with potential recruits for 2020 on Sunday.
Borserio could be forgiven for wanting to reflect on what was an amazing season for the Bloods - and indeed what still could have been had they won their way through to a fairy tale grand final, only two years after finishing the 2017 season with two wins, and no wins in 2016.
"It is fabulous how far we have improved but for me (Saturday) was bitter and sweet, we had a three-goal lead with only minutes to play and needed to put the nail in the Colbo coffin," she said.
"I wanted the fairy tale and we deserved it, take nothing away from Colbo as they took the win from us, that's experience showing through.
"We have the heart and we now have the experience, and I hope after (Saturday) we have earned the respect."
While few gave the Bloods much chance of getting as close as they did, after earlier season defeats of 20 and 29 goals to the Grasshoppers, Borserio was more bullish in her expectations.
"We haven't had the same team all year due to injuries," she said.
"I've have been watching their game for a while now, but it was when I watched Colbo versus White Hills late in the year that I worked out their style of play and what I thought you needed to do to counteract that.
"We stuck to our game plan and it worked well.
"It was our first quarter that cost us yesterday, we had only four of our regular A grade players able to play in Ruby (Barkmeyer), Abbey (Hay), Caitlin (McLachlan) and Kelsey (Niven).
"We brought up a bevy of talent and experience in Hollie (Hildebrandt), Chloe (Whitfield) and Steph (Donnellon), all of whom have played A-grade during the season but firstly played the A-res preliminary final only minutes earlier.
"So playing two games in a row was a huge task and one I commend them for agreeing to do.
"It shows how much heart and talent they all have."
A third-place finish, with a 10-6 regular season win-loss record, continued the rapid growth of Elmore's netball program, after the Bloods placed fifth at 8-7-1 in 2018 and eighth at 2-14 in 2017.
Borserio was quick to ensure credit for the turnaround was shared by plenty at Elmore.
"It's taken hours of planning and training to get to this position from a squad of 19 players, and our support from our behind the scene people in Cindy Clarkson (netball ops) and Dave Trewick (club president), who give me everything I ask for," she said.
"The belief they've shown in my sometimes bizarre requests has allowed me to bring together an amazing group of players."
A strong season for Elmore was reflected in the league's Esther Cheatley Medal best and fairest count, with Hay finishing equal third behind Anna-Grace Close (White Hills) and Jess Geary (Colbinabbin) with 19 votes and Barkmeyer equal fifth on 15 votes in just nine games.
The Bloods will have their 15-and-under team in a grand final this weekend against Lockington-Bamawm United.
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