This year’s title might be the sweetest of them all for City West Falcons coach Marg Lind.
With a young playing group and players missing games because of Australian Netball League commitments, Lind had said all along that making finals was a bonus.
The Falcons found form in the second half of the season and moved into the top four in the final round, then stepped it up at the right time.
On Sunday, all the hard work came together when they defeated Geelong Cougars in a 56-48 win to claim the club’s fifth title in 10 seasons.
“I reckon this is nearly the best,” Lind said afterwards.
“We’ve had the most struggle as a club, coming to terms with ANL and having to play young kids all over the shop.
“We’ve trained really hard, but weren’t seeing results midway.
“There’s a real inability to give up.”
The Falcons started nervously on Sunday, but settled to lead by a goal at quarter-time.
From about midway through the second quarter they took control of the game.
Lind said she thought nerves played a part.
“Our attack end tried very hard to give them a big lead. We weren’t letting the ball go,” she said.
“We tried a couple of different strategies and probably complicated things.
“At quarter-time we said [let’s] go back to what had been working for us.”
After half-time the Falcons took control of the game and extended their lead. The Cougars made a number of changes to counteract the Falcons, but could not stop them.
Lind said the playing group was hungry and made the most of the one per centers.
Defender Zoe Davies was named best on court.
Lind said she was proud of Davies, who got the nod ahead of Maddy Balson in the second defensive role.
“If they went with the smaller line-up we were going with Zoe, if they went with Ruby [Horton], we were going taller with Maddy,” Lind said.
“For Zoe, it’s all about the mental side and about the self belief. We’ve had a lot of conversations over the last couple of weeks, she had doubted herself.
“She deserves to be there.”
While the Falcons used just seven players in the grand final, Lind was quick to praise the efforts of the whole squad.
She said without those players on the bench who took on a bigger workload earlier in the season, they wouldn’t have got where they did.
After the match, Lind revealed that skipper Maggie Lind probably shouldn’t have played. Maggie had a partially torn plantar fascia and was in a lot of pain.
Lind said with such a young playing group the future looked bright.
“It will be tough again next year,” she said.
“We’re heading in the right direction and we’ve rebuilt the culture and we’ve tried to get a different mindset.”