Lancefield has vowed to return better and stronger after falling short in the Riddell District Netball League A-grade grand final.

Playing in their first A-grade grand final since 2004, the Tigers started slowly against Romsey and never recovered, losing 56-40.

The Tigers were seven goals down at the last break and couldn’t recover, the Redbacks blowing out their lead to 16 goals at the final whistle.

Tigers coach Alan Watson said they were clearly beaten by a better team. The Redbacks had over-run them two weeks earlier in the semi-finals, by 14 goals.

“We had a crack and we scared the hell out of them in the third quarter which was good,” he said. “We had a good year and I’m not overly worried by it. We had a go and didn’t leave anything out there and that’s all you can ask for.

“Romsey deserved the win, they were the better team on the day.”

The Tigers hopes of ending their premiership drought suffered a setback before the game, as Maddi Gay hurt her shoulder playing football.

It meant she couldn’t take to the court, leaving the Tigers with eight players to pick from.

Once the game started, Watson knew they would have to play good netball for four quarters, unfortunately it wasn’t to be.

“That was the thing we were worried about, being able to play consistently for the entire game.

“In that first quarter they were five up in a blink of an eye lid. We were playing catch-up netball from then, we stuck with them for the majority of the game and again they got away late, that’s the way it goes.”

The Tigers fought it out to the end, which was clear when Tigers captain Paula Broadstock returned to the court after dislocating her finger early in the last quarter.

She had wanted to play on after having the finger put back in, but had to spend time on the bench after calling an injury time-out.

Watson said Broadstock led by example.

“She’s our captain for a reason and she kept mentioning ‘I’m right to go, I’m right to go,’ she was really keen to get out there.

“She showed enormous courage.”

Tahnysha Salanoa, who shot 28 goals, was named the Tigers best player. Taylah Watson and Broadstock were also named in the best.

Watson said they had already started planning for next season.

“We’ve got a couple of players in mind for next year,” he said.

“Part of our problem was we only had eight on the bench. We’ll get some more players and the ones I’ve got in mind will make us stronger, bigger and better next year.”