Goulburn Valley League’s senior netballers rounded out the clean sweep of league victories on Saturday.
As the last of the four football and netball teams to finish, Tracey Brereton’s side secured a four-goal win against Ovens and Murray after benefiting from a powerful third term.
Aside from a brief period of dominance, the game stayed tight with OMFNL taking a two-goal lead at quarter-time at Yarrawonga.
Shepparton United’s Jessie Barnes-Hill and Seymour’s Ellie O’Sullivan were the pair tasked with replacing the dominant Kyabram duo of Elle Groves and Belinda Lees that had previously been certain starters in the purple and yellow.
While the composite pair needed the first quarter before effectively starting to combine, the duo began to hit form in the second term with Kate Durling and Mia Fallon feeding in.
The scores were 22-all at half-time and Brereton made some decisions that provided the added spark the GV needed.
Seymour’s Elle McDonald changed from goal defence to wing attack and worked in tandem with fellow Lion O’Sullivan with Ash Cann joining Shepparton teammate Morgan Gibson in the defensive circle.
Brereton said the moves to coincide with the players’ clubs was not intentional, but they worked and the Goulburn Valley shot the first seven goals of the term unanswered.
‘‘I didn’t think about that, it was more just to see if we could change some movement off the centre pass and, look, it worked,’’ she said.
‘‘It was just to see if we could try something different and we were level at that stage and I sort of felt if we had stayed the same the whole game we might not have got over the line.’’
The team’s defensive pressure across the court was sensational, but Goulburn Valley did not cruise home from there on despite moving to a lead as high as 12 goals.
The opposition built a run late in the term to bring the margin back to seven goals, but the Ovens and Murray bench had sights on a comeback.
With Shepparton’s Steph Gorrie joining Barnes-Hill in the shooting circle, the new pairing needed some time to become accustomed to each other.
It showed at a crucial period in the match when Goulburn Valley was unable to convert from two attempts in the attacking end, as the ball went down the other end once due to a held ball, and another because of a foot out of court.
But Gibson and Cann kept plugging away in the defensive end.
The duo’s familiarity on the court for the Bears was evidenced by its quick passing to move the ball out of the defensive third, while another Shepparton ace Laura Ryan helped the transition.
The fresh legs of Ryan after coming on for the third quarter allowed her to find space in the opposite corner of where the ball was to shorten the number of passes down the court.
Brereton praised the defensive work of the team as the catalyst in the win.
‘‘I was feeling pretty good going into the last quarter thinking ‘this is okay’, but I think we were very lucky the last quarter with our defensive efforts,’’ she said.
‘‘I think our defenders kept us in the game without a doubt because we made some crucial errors in attack and it’s not pointing the finger at anyone, but we made some crucial errors and started to look a bit tired or whether it was that they (OMFNL) were like ‘we’ve got nothing to lose and had a crack’.’’
GVL will next take the court at the Association Championships on June 17 with Kyabram’s Lauren Pryde, Shepparton Swans’ Jana Bruinier and Tatura’s Brylee Schache to make their way into the side.
No Benalla Saints players were named in the side but are gearing up to take on the Shepparton Swans this weekend.