Sunbury Lions’ C-grade netball side is the toast of the club after claiming the Ballarat Football Netball League premiership cup.
Of the three Lions sides to make it through to the grand final, the C-grade side was the only one to come away with the win.
Having lost last year’s grand final the Lions were also out for some redemption when they took to the court against Ballarat at the weekend.
The Lions started the better and led by six goals at quarter-time. They held the margin at the main break.
Ballarat got some momentum in the third quarter to reduce the margin back to a goal but the Lions settled and held on to win 39-33.
For Lions coach Renee Hulls, the focus was to get off to a good start to settle the nerves.
“I wasn’t part of Sunbury last year so I went with my gut instinct and put out the girls I thought would get the job done,” she said.
“We had a few ups and downs and tinkered with a few things through the year.
“To their credit, they came out firing from the first whistle and were just unstoppable.”
Up front for the Lions were their two young shooters who could still both be playing under-17s.
Shelby Holter, who won the league C-grade best and fairest and most valuable player award, was joined in the circle by Chloe Hodgson.
Hodgson stepped into the C-grade side when Lauren Boland hurt her knee during the season.
Hulls was thrilled with how the two goalers worked together.
“I had to bring up Chloe from 19s,” Hulls said.
“Having two under-17s in that goaling ring could have been nervy against seniors, but to their credit, they played unbelievable.
“They played out of their skin. I’m speechless for those two.”
Hulls said they expected Ballarat to come at them, and they did exactly that.
At three-quarter time, she brought on Boland to give an experienced head in the goal circle.
“They came back and we reacted to that and then we put our foot down again,” Hulls said.
“I said we’ve got 12 minutes ladies, let’s play as good as the first quarter and finish it off in the last … they did.”
Lions’ midcourter Courtney Bryant was named best on court.
Hulls said she was hoping to keep most of the girls next season.
The Lions B-graders lost 47-45.
The under-18.5 footballers lost to North Ballarat City, 10.16 (76)-4.5 (29).
For more pictures of the C-grade grand final, CLICK HERE