MGNA GRAND FINAL
Newborough have clinched the 2018 Mid Gippsland Netball Association A grade premiership, edging out Thorpdale in overtime to win 48-46.
The Blues, hot off their 25-goal thumping of Newborough in the semi-final a fortnight ago, started in red-hot form.
Goal shooter Grace Hollands used her height to advantage and cherry-picked almost every entry into the Thorpdale goal circle to help the side race away to a 7-2 lead mid-way through the first quarter.
Runner-up league best and fairest Tanya Budge was in phenomenal form in her 300th game and made life difficult for Newborough’s Jaclyn Douch in goals.
However, the Bulldogs – through the work of captain Courtney Risol and Tamekia Carmichael in defence – began to turn the ball over and scrapped back to be within one goal at the first break.
The scores were locked at 18 goals apiece at half-time and some positional changes for the Blues including Kacie Loft to centre helped them start the third term well.
Tamekia Carmichael and Courtney Risol were working overtime to contain the Thorpdale goalers, but Grace Hollands and Claire Hammond were on song – barely missing to take their side to a three-goal lead at the last change.
Newborough gathered at the break and hit their stride from the first centre pass of the last term.
Nicole Henry was electric at wing attack and was delivering the ball to goals with pace and purpose.
The defensive pairing of Risol and Carmichael was making entries into the circle tough for Thorpdale and their rebound and switch efforts were starting to make a difference.
With scores levelled at 38 apiece at the final whistle, the Dogs raced away to a two-goal lead early in the first half of overtime, despite the best efforts of 300-gamer Tanya Budge, and consolidated in the second half to seal a stunning win.
A teary-eyed Dogs captain Courtney Risol addressed her side in the wake of the thrilling win.
“We’ve had a really, really tough battle this year to get here and we were rapt that we even got here,” Risol said.
“To win it, is just a dream come true. This will go down in history.”