Rupertswood’s incredible run in the Riddell District Netball League under-19 competition continued on Sunday, with the Sharks winning a fifth straight premiership.
Since the introduction of the under-19 competition, the Sharks have won every premiership. More amazingly, they haven’t lost a game during that time.
Sharks coach Di McCormack said they never imagined the success they would have when they took to the court for the first time all those years ago.
“We didn’t think it would be that strong,” she said. “I think the brilliance of it is, that it’s a different team each year.
“We may have one or two come back, basically its been developing. Some of the girls now started in our junior program and have been developing and working their way up.
“Charlotte Bates was one of them, Holli [Bates] was one of them, Maddi [Bosio] has come up through the junior ranks. Keely [Carlyon] is another one.
“They all work together so well as a team.”
This year’s team was one of the more experienced for the Sharks.
Em Ktona, who played in the first premiership, was part of the team, along with Eloise Freeman who played in the 2015 premiership.
On Sunday, they faced Woodend-Hesket which was playing in its first ever netball final in any of the senior grades.
The Hawks produced their best performance ever against the Sharks in the under-19 competition, but it wasn’t enough.
The Sharks winning 36-29.
The Sharks got out to an early lead and while they were never able to put the game beyond doubt, the gap was big enough.
McCormack said the Hawks made them work for it.
“I was so glad it was a close game. Woodend have done a great job and hats off to them,” she said.
“They changed up how they played their goalers a bit, so it changed our plan, but I think we stayed steady.
“My message to them in the last quarter, was we didn’t need to build on the lead, we just needed to maintain it. We had to be patient and work the ball down the court.
“They didn’t need to do anything fancy, they didn’t need to try and change the game, they just needed to play steady netball.”
Defender Rebecca Purcell Mailata was named best on court. It caps off a couple of big weeks for her.
She took out the under-19 league best and fairest award and was among the leaders in the C-grade count.
“She is a powerhouse,” McCormack said. “Bec has that is self confidence. She doesn’t let anything get into her head, she doesn’t doubt herself.
“I think her father’s line is, ‘no excuses, just produce’, and that’s what she did.”
For more pictures from the game, CLICK HERE