The 17 and Under Alberton team was from left, Lucy Mulqueeny, Hannah Sparks, Brit Roffey, Britt Thomas, Kelsey Angwin, Shannon Danckert, Bridget Monaghan and Lauren Redpath. Absent was Sophie Scott, Tyler Ralph and Hannah McRae. Coach Jesse Boyd is at the front.
FOR the second consecutive season, Alberton has stamped its authority all over netball in Gippsland at Friday night’s Eastern Region State League Netball Grand Final.
Represented in both divisions the grand final started with the 17 and Under division between the undefeated Alberton and Gippsland whose only losses for the season were at the hands of Alberton.
Both teams started the game with relative confidence and focus, the only exception being Alberton’s Brittany Thomas missing over 50 per cent of her shots in the first quarter.
Her inaccuracy could have been costly as it allowed Gippsland to get the jump by two goals in the opening quarter.
However in typical Alberton style Thomas stepped it up and made amends and alongside Brittany Roffey in goals evened the score going into the main break.
Tensions were high as both teams stepped out for the all-important third quarter. No changes for Alberton but Gippsland’s coach Krissy Travers made some unexpected changes moving Shelby Wulffers from her natural position of wing defence to centre and surprisingly benched Kasey Guttridge, not phased at all by the changes Alberton continued their fluent movement of the ball edging past Gippsland by two goals.
With only 15 minutes to play Gippsland’s disrupted mid court began to crumble and Alberton took advantage and eventually won their second consecutive premiership 43-36.
Alberton’s centre player Shannon Danckert was named player of the match.
Not so much excitement surrounded the predictable Open division grand final featuring the dominant Alberton and Mid Gippsland Green.
Missing key goaler Jess Hillier due to her wedding the next day, Mid Gippsland kept up with their more fancied opponents for the first quarter holding a surprising three goal lead but with only the bare seven players they were never going to sustain that pressure.
Clearly very poorly prepared to contest the grand final, Mid Gippsland dropped their heads and took themselves out of the race after the first 15 minutes.
At one point Mid Gippsland disappointingly only had six players on the court as captain Billie Jo Malady was receiving treatment for a foot injury.
Alberton thumped their opposition 55-28 with Alberton’s Christie Hillberg being named best on court.
Alberton will now look to defending their Regional Champions title when they contest the Regional State League Champions Challenge.
A change to the traditional format will now see the top two teams of the Challenge play off as a curtain raiser for the Australian Netball League match between Victorian teams Flame and Fury on July 20 at Waverley Netball Centre.
At the presentations later, Christie Hillberg was named the Open Division’s MVP; Brittany Thomas, Shannon Danckert and Lauren Redpath were named in the 17 and Under All Star Team; making the Open All Star Team was Nicole Coates, Christie Hillberg, Tess Angarane and Kimberley Hillberg.