In a match which carried plenty of emotional heft, the Arawang Netball Association won the Division One final of the Canterbury State League against the Canberra Netball Association (CNA) on Sunday.
It was a clash between first and second on the ladder, and both sides had only lost three matches between them coming into the game.
Long-time Arawang coach Kim Symons said that her side had a special motivation for making this final.
“We just missed out on the grand final last year, and that’s after being in every grand final since 2010,” Symons said.
“So that was really tough for the girls and myself, to not be there last year. So we wanted redemption and that’s what we worked hard to achieve.
“It hurt a lot, some of those girls have been with me since 2010, so they hadn’t really known what it was like not to be in a grand final.
“It was a big inspiration to go ‘right, we want to go one better this year’.”
Although CNA were extremely tough opponents and had only lost twice in the regular season, both of those losses came at the hands of Arawang, which gave Symons ample confidence going into the final.
“We were expecting them to come out firing, and we had to stick to what we could do, and we did,” Symons said.
The only aspect of Arawang’s season so far which gave Symons cause for concern was their propensity to go missing mentally during matches and move away from the game plan, but she said that her girls played a “flawless” game on Sunday.
“We’ve had previous games where they would go missing in action from the game plan, and that would result in teams being able to come back at us.
“But yesterday they were focused for the four quarters, and they were pretty relentless.
“To win in that style and the type of netball that they played was pretty flawless.”
The match finished with Arawang comfortable victors, 69-57, and Symons said that the team was thrilled with their efforts.
“We had our captain [Fiona Morrissey], who was retiring, and two of our young guns who are leaving interstate next year,” she said.
“So it was pretty meaningful to us to finish the job that we’d started all season.
“To finish and to play that style of netball was pretty fantastic by them.”