GIPPSLAND Storm Elite Development Netball Club has again proven itself to be one of the strongest junior netball clubs in the state, taking home three out of four premierships at the Waverley Netball Centre, just before the school break.
The club’s success started on Wednesday night, with the Under 17s getting over the line in the dying stages of the their grand final against Whitehorse by the smallest of margins.
Having finished the regular season in first position, the team were confident of taking home the premiership, but unfortunately pre-game nerves, and fundamental errors when in possession, kept Whitehorse in the contest, and there were no more than four goals between both teams for the entire 60 minutes.
Whitehorse were able to extend its lead in the match to four goals during the third quarter, and it seemed that Storm would not be able to regain control of the match, making unforced errors when control and composure were required.
Storm trailed by two goals at the final break.
The girls threw everything into the last quarter, pushing themselves to their absolute limit, and through sheer persistence took the lead in the last 15 seconds of the game, and then held out Whitehorse’s last ditch effort to draw level.
Final score: 40-39.
Best on court was awarded to Corinella’s Taylah Turner for her strong effort at GA.
The club’s success was followed up on the Thursday night, where the club had its Under 13 (Division 1), Under 15 (Division 1) and Under 15 (Division 2) competing in their respective grand finals.
The night didn’t start off on the right note, with the Under 13s going down to a well drilled Chelsea outfit.
To their credit, all players competed hard for the entire match and did themselves proud, but it was fundamental errors at crucial times in the match that cost Storm momentum and Chelsea capitalised, taking home the grand final 31-19.
Storm continued their dominance of the Under 15 competition, taking home both division premierships.
In the Division 2 grand final, Jodie Hanssen and her players proved that you have to win the right games at the right time of the season, defeating Kingston 29-27 in a tightly contested grand final.
The Division 2s had a rollercoaster of a season, playing some great netball at times, but also playing well below their potential, and only six weeks ago, they were embarrassed by Kingston to the tune of 20 goals.
Having scraped into fourth position at the end of the regular season, no-one expected that Hanssen and her players would pull out their two best performances of the season in finals, and that they did, surprising everybody, themselves included, to take home the team’s second premiership in 12 months.
The Division 1s again proved themselves to be the best junior team at Waverley on Thursday night, taking home their eighth premiership in 11 attempts, defeating a determined Yarra 33-26.
Having totally dominated the competition for the season, going through undefeated and with a percentage just short of 200 per cent, the girls were never willing to allow their opponent a chance of spoiling the party, and from the first whistle, it was obvious that Storm had come to play.
The first quarter was all Storms, with disciplined defence, silky transition through the mid court, and accurate goaling keeping the scoreboard ticking over, and a 9-3 score line reflecting the team’s dominance.
Yarra responded in the second quarter, catching the Storm girls off guard, and by half time, the lead had been cut to two 14-12.
The second half was a great contest between two teams not willing to give an inch, but it was Storm’s continuous pressure across the court, and bigger, stronger bodies inside the attacking end that proved the difference.
Best on court was awarded to Georgia Hutchinson for her great game at WA and WD.
Building on another very successful autumn season at the Waverley Netball Centre, Gippsland Storm launched its first ever TID Tournament to be held on Sunday, September 27 at the Cardinia Life YMCA Pakenham.
The tournament is open to all 13 and Under and 15 and Under netball teams, within the greater Gippsland regional football and netball league clubs and Melbourne outer eastern leagues.
There will be prize money for first, second and third, plus trophies.
See www.gippslandstorm.com.au for more details or call head coach Simon O’Shanassy on 0413 483 516.