ALBERTON reaffirmed its absolute supremacy in Gippsland netball by claiming consecutive Eastern Region State League netball titles in both under 17 and open divisions on Friday night in Churchill.
Alberton faced Mid Gippsland Green in a replay of last year’s open division grand final and made a mockery of the 2013 15-goal winning margin.
Missing key goaler Jess Hillier due to her wedding the next day, Mid Gippsland kept up with its more fancied opponents for the first quarter to establish a surprising three-goal lead.
However, with only the bare minimum seven players, the pressure valve was slowly released.
After 15 minutes Mid Gippsland fell away shambolically, and at one point had only six players on court as captain Billie Jo Malady received treatment for injury.
The final score was a resounding 55-28 with Alberton’s Christie Hillberg named best on court.
The dual premier will now look to defend the regional crown at the Regional State League Champions Challenge.
A change to the traditional format will see the top two teams at the Challenge play off as a curtain raiser for the Australian Netball League match between Victorian teams Flame and Fury on 20 July at Waverley Netball Centre.
In the under 17 division final Alberton faced Gippsland.
Both teams started the game with relative confidence and focus, but Alberton’s Brittany Thomas was off key, shooting under 50 per cent in the opening quarter as Gippsland established a two-goal lead.
However, in typical Alberton style, Thomas stepped it up and made amends alongside Brittany Roffey in goals to even the score at the main break.
Tensions were high as both teams stepped out for the all-important third quarter.
There were no changes for Alberton but Gippsland coach Krissy Travers made some unexpected moves, shifting Shelby Wulffers from her natural position of wing defence to centre and benched Kasey Guttridge.
Not phased by the reshuffle, Alberton continued its fluent movement of the ball to sneak in front by two.
With 15 minutes to play Gippsland’s disrupted midcourt began to crumble and Alberton took advantage to win 43-36.
Alberton’s centre player Shannon Danckert was named best on court.
OPEN ALL STARS
Jessica Hilliar, Ramayer Gourley, Alice Pratt, Courtney Stevens (Mid Gippsland Green), Jaclyn Douch, Beccy Mealing (Morwelll Indoor), Meg Van Rooy, Ellen Mills, Halie McColl, Sarah Greenwood (Mid Gippsland White), Nicole Coates, Christie Hillberg, Tess Angarane and Kimberley Hillberg (Alberton).
UNDER 17 ALL STARS
Jayde Travers, Jami Cashman, Karlee Dal Pra, Amelia Charlton (Gippsland), Brittany Thomas, Shannon Danckert, Lauren Redpath (Alberton), Madelyn Gibson, Kirsty Hodgson (North Gippsland), Emily Morrison, Paige Robinson (Sale) and Sally Delller (East Gippsland).
Open: Christie Hillberg (Alberton)
U17: Jayde Travers (Gippsland)