Gippsland Storm’s Alberton Football Netball League representatives, from left, Hannah Flanders (Fish Creek), Shannon Danckert (Fish Creek), Sophie Scott (Inverloch-Kongwak), Holly Monaghan (Stony Creek), Simon O’Shanassy (coach) and Lauren Redpath (MDU).
GIPPSLAND Storm Elite Development Netball Club has finished off its Premier League season in style.
The Open side overcame a physical Fusion Purple in their grand final by 14 goals recently at the Waverley Netball Centre.
Having gone through the season undefeated, and having won their semi-final by a convincing 24 goals, the Storm girls knew their opponents would come out hard in the first half, and they didn’t disappoint.
The first quarter was a low scoring affair, with both defensive ends dominating play. Gippsland were taken out of their comfort zone, and the additional pressure of a grand final was evident, as they committed turnovers that hadn’t been evident all season.
Fusion Purple settled quicker and half way through the first quarter led by four goals, taking the game up to their younger opponents. Gippsland Storm clawed back a few goals towards the end of the quarter, and only trailed by one at the first change.
The second quarter was a carbon copy of the first, with fundamental errors creeping into both teams’ game, and the standard below what would be expected from the two top teams with so much to play for.
Whilst Gippsland had played well below what their best during the first half, they believed could rely on their speed and fitness to push them along in the second half.
The third quarter fell as predicted, with Gippsland totally dominating play for the whole 15 minutes, going from a one goal lead at half time, to a commanding 10 goal lead at three quarter time.
With one hand on the ultimate prize, the entire group was committed to finishing off the game in style, and proving their mantle as the most dominant team in Premier League for the season.
The final score of 42-28 was a true reflection of the gap between the first and second team.
Captain Holly Monaghan proved exactly how far she has come in the past 12 months, leading from the front, and earning the best on court award for her disciplined effort in the defensive circle for the whole four quarters.
Gippsland Storm’s Under 15s re-confirmed their reputation as the most dominant junior side at Waverley on a Thursday night, taking out their third consecutive premiership and seventh out of the last 10, with a 36-27 victory against Caulfield Green.
Having shared the victories with Caulfield over the course of the season, the girls prepared themselves for a tough encounter.
The first half of the match proved that their opponents were up for the fight.
The first quarter saw Caulfield settle earlier, taking advantage of some sloppy play from Gippsland who were struggling to find rhythm in transition, but to their credit, Gippsland clawed back a few late goals, and drew level at quarter time.
Gippsland started to get on top in the second quarter, but couldn’t capitalise on the scoreboard, and the game was still in the balance at half time, with Gippsland only leading by one goal.
Coach Simon O’Shanassy reminded the girls of their superior fitness and speed over four quarters. It gave them a fresh sense of confidence going into the third quarter.
The introduction of some fresh legs and stronger bodies into the goal circle changed the game in favour of Gippsland.
Some fantastic and well-timed turnovers in the defensive end in the third quarter gave Gippsland some much needed momentum, and they went into the final quarter six goals up, but still with some work to do.
With victory in sight, the Storm players took their game to a new level to give their opponents no chance of mounting a late comeback, and they finished the game in style, securing a well-earned nine goal victory against a tenacious opponent.
Corrina Emery was rewarded for her disciplined effort at GK, where she only gave away two penalties for the entire match, with the Best on Court award.
Gippsland’s domination of the Under 15 competition in recent years can be best represented by their win/loss record of 68 wins from 71 games since the start of 2013, including three premierships.