Web_C253813KORUMBURRA-Bena claimed its first back-to-back Alberton Netball title with a comprehensive 39-27 victory over Dalyston in the 2013 A Grade grand final at Wonthaggi. The two teams previously met in the premiership deciders of 2010 and 2011 with the Magpies prevailing in both encounters so the Bulldogs went about avenging their previous disappointments against their grand final nemesis. Jarney Thomas got Dalyston on the board with the first goal of the match but then the Magpie shooters had limited opportunities during the opening minutes. Both teams tried to set the early tempo which resulted in a host of turnovers but it was Korumburra-Bena who were first to find their groove behind the prominence of Kimberley Hillberg under the post.

The match was unfolding as a very physical encounter with many fiercely contested possessions but the Bulldogs would not be deterred as they raced to a 9-5 quarter time lead. With the game appearing to be slowly slipping away in favour of Korumburra-Bena, Jarney Thomas went about almost single-handedly bringing the Magpies back into the match with four unanswered goals to cut the deficit to one goal. However, Bulldogs coach Christie Hillberg provided the inspiration with a series of turnovers that ensured the Bulldogs would remain in control of the contest. Her great positioning and drive through the defensive half of the court pushed their half time lead out to six goals with an 18-12 advantage. Dalyston made some positional changes going into the third quarter in an attempt to ignite a spark. Tess Angarane to goal defence and Alyce Abriola to centre and for a brief moment there was sense of change in the air with Korumburra-Bena making a number of uncustomary errors.

That moment of change was quickly dispelled as Emma Kyle’s patience and accuracy in the goal circle enabled the Bulldogs to surge ahead to for a commanding lead midway through the third term. Brittany Thomas dropped in her first goal for the Magpies and it sparked a run of five straight goals that cut the deficit in half. Angarane was keeping Kimberley Hilberg quiet while also picking off a number of intercepts and momentum had swung Dalyston’s way. Despite the momentum shift Korumburra-Bena were able to regain their composure and headed into the fourth quarter with a 27-19 edge. If the Magpies had one last effort in them it needed to come early in the final term and after a period of time where the two teams traded goals the Bulldogs finally tightened the screws while surging to the biggest lead of the game. With a best on court performance, Christie Hillberg paved the way for Korumburra-Bena in another dazzling display.

B Grade
FOSTER became just the second B Grade team to win four successive premierships after it overcame Fish Creek in the Grand Final with a 51-37 triumph. The Kangaroos got off to a sizzling start by scoring the opening three goals of the match before the Tigers got their first opportunity to score. Fish Creek’s shooting pair Hayley Watkins and Elysia Shaw were showing early polish and accuracy in the circle early. Once they opened their account the Tigers were clinically efficient and stamped their mark on the contest. A high-scoring quarter saw Foster in control at 15-11. In fact the Tigers bridged the first and second quarters with seven unanswered goals to be in a commanding position in the early going after quarter time. Fish Creek could do little to stem the flow of ball to the mother-daughter combination of Nicole and Tarryn McKenzie which enabled Foster to take a deserved 27-19 lead at half time. With twice as much ball during the third quarter the Tigers stamped their dominance all over this contest as their transition through court was seamless. Foster had few problems in finding their key targets in the goal circle as they finished the quarter with a flourish, scoring 10 goals to one and pushing the margin out to 17 goals before entering the last change with a 41-25 lead. The Kangaroos continued to throw everything at the Tigers in the final term but could not get the vital turnovers needed to break open their more fancied opponents. In the highest scoring match throughout the day, Foster flexed its muscle when it needed it most and repeated their title-winning deeds of the past three seasons. It was gallant challenge from a Fish Creek outfit that finished the season in sixth position on the ladder and the end of the regular season but this day would belong to the Tigers. Nicole McKenzie’s all-round performance was a feature in Foster’s domination and she was rewarded with best on court for her efforts.

C Grade
KORUMBURRA-Bena captured its second ever Alberton Netball premiership in C Grade after holding out a fast-finishing Stony Creek 31-29. The Bulldogs won its last flag in C Grade back in 2003 when it prevailed against Tarwin and now has its hands on a second title. Stony Creek, who had never reached a C Grade grand final showdown, appeared a little overawed by the occasion as Korumburra-Bena settled into a steady rhythm to nudge ahead 8-6 by the first break. It remained close until Ange Williams converted six unanswered goals for the Bulldogs in the early proceedings of the second quarter to open up a seven-goal cushion before the Lions reduced the deficit to 17-11 at half time. Some long bomb accuracy from Elle Burgess extended Korumburra-Bena’s advantage out to the biggest lead of the game at 23-14 but Stony Creek would eventually trail by just eight goals with a quarter to play. However, the contest was far from over as the Lions made a valiant last quarter charge. Defenders Di Schelling and Lisa Burge produced some crucial plays to help Stony Creek close to within one in the shadows of full time but Burgess twice thwarted their scoring runs with timely goals for the Bulldogs. Eventually time was the biggest factor and a dream finals campaign fell agonisingly short for the Lions camp. Penni Storti was awarded best on court.

17 and Under
FOR three quarters Stony Creek withstood a strong challenge from Korumburra-Bena before a dominant fourth period ultimately set up the Lions’ 40-31 grand final win. The Bulldogs earned their place in the grand final from fourth spot at the end of the home and away season and took it right up to the minor premiers. Respective GA’s Olivia Cope and Gemma Dixon were key targets but faced intense early pressure from Caroline Crawford and Holly Monaghan, respectively, as the midcourt contingent had to work overtime in getting the ball goal-bound. The Lions produced some key turnovers in the midcourt midway through the opening term which helped establish an early 11-9 advantage at quarter time. Dixon made a strong impact during the second quarter with Korumburra-Bena’s play elevating to level the scores before inching into the lead. The Bulldogs held the narrowest of edges at halftime, leading 19-18, before Cope produced some inspirational play near the post and hard work outside the circle to hand the impetus back to Stony Creek in the early moments of the third term. However, Korumbura-Bena were far from finished as it replied with a rejuvenated fight-back to draw within two goals at three quarter time to trail 26-24. The Lions stamped their authority all over this match with an outstanding fourth quarter performance as it reeled off six of the first seven goals to start the last quarter. The Bulldogs never recovered as Stony Creek marched to the beat of its first 17 & Under premiership victory with Olivia Cope earning best on court.

15 and Under
YARRAM opened the 15 and under premiership decider with a flurry of goals and never looked back as the Demons claimed their second title in five years. Korumburra-Bena could not gain any momentum throughout the course of the game and only scored consecutive goals on five occasions. Yarram’s Stacey Coulthard dropped in a number of long range shots that continually deflated the spirits of the Bulldog defenders. In contrast, Korumburra-Bena appeared rushed in their shooting early before settling in to their customary rhythm. Asserting their dominance on the match, Yarram extended their eight-goal margin at halftime out to a double figure lead midway through the third quarter. The Bulldogs fought back bravely to reduce the deficit to five goals early in the fourth period trailing 31-26 and with more ball for a long period of time could have been closer but they could not capitalise on their opportunities. Eventually Yarram waltzed to the premiership closing out the match with nine of the last 11 goals to win 40-28. Sam Holt earned the best on court honours.

13 and Under
DALYSTON won its fourth 13 and under grand final in Alberton Netball with a comprehensive performance against Inverloch-Kongwak to win 28-14. A closely contested opening quarter kept the scores almost even with the Magpies leading 4-3 and it remained tight during the second quarter as both teams scored five goals apiece for the term. There was no easy avenue to goal for Inverloch-Kongwak with the path continually being blocked by the rangy and competitive exploits of Alana McRae, who intercepted numerous passes. Dalyston maintained its one goal advantage at half time, leading 10-9, but it wasn’t until an 11-0 spurt by the Magpies which bridged the third and fourth quarter that blew this contest apart. The Sea Eagles, who received great presence from Sophie Bolam at goal attack, were unable find any general flow in play as Dalyston marched ahead to be well in control, 25-11, half way through the fourth quarter. Inverloch-Kongwak produced many errant passes from defence due to the constant pressure applied from the Magpies. What entries the Sea Eagles did receive into their goal circle the shooters were forced to take long range shots. Alana McRae was awarded best on court.