By Sam Watson
LIKE the football divisions in West Gippsland, there will be no official premiers crowned in the netball competitions this year, but the top sides have been awarded minor premierships.
All sides in the West Gippsland competition played each other once, and once only in 2021, making it as even as possible.
Here’s a look at the sides whose efforts saw them awarded minor premierships.
* A Grade Netball – Dalyston
NO ONE can question Dalyston’s premiership credentials in the A Grade netball after going through the season undefeated in 2021.
Jarney Thomas’ squad had a narrow win in round one against Bunyip while Tooradin Dalmore and Korumburra Bena had wins to show they would both be forces to be reckoned with.
The very next week, Dalyston were up against Korumburra Bena, where they held on for another tight win.
After the Korumburra Bena win the Magpies really started to hit their straps, including a win against reigning premier Tooradin Dalmore by 26 points.
Following the Tooradin Dalmore win, Dalyston continued to handle all their opponents, keeping an incredibly firm grip on top spot.
With this year’s grand final due to be held at Dalyston, the Magpies would’ve been the white-hot favourites to add some more silverware to their jam-packed trophy cabinet.
* B Grade Netball – Phillip Island
PERCENTAGE separated Phillip Island from Tooradin Dalmore on the B Grade ladder, but the Bulldogs were certainly the in-form team for most of the year.
The B Grade Bulldogs started fantastically, winning their first three games in convincing fashion.
Koo Wee Rup tested them in round four, but Phillip Island came home with the win by 12 points and continued winning all the way to round 10.
One of those wins came against Tooradin Dalmore where they held on by six points to separate themselves in top spot.
But in round 10, Korumburra Bena got the better of Phillip Island, picking up the win by nine points.
The Island were able to bounce back in round 11, beating Dalyston by 36 and remaining in top spot.
Tooradin Dalmore’s only loss of the year came to Phillip Island, so in the end it was really six points that decided the minor premiership.
* C Grade Netball – Inverloch Kongwak
GOING undefeated throughout the home and away season is a pretty decent indicator you’re going to be a mighty opponent in the finals series, and that’s exactly what Inverloch Kongwak were shaping up to be.
They didn’t start the year the way they would’ve liked, drawing with Tooradin Dalmore in round two after beating Cora Lynn by nine points in round one.
They also escaped a loss to Korumburra Bena by just four points, and then held off Dalyston by just two points in round four.
But the incredibly tough draw to start the year paid dividends for the Sea Eagles and they were almost untouchable for the rest of the season.
The rest of their wins came by 10 points or more, all while Dalyston was dominating their respective opponents, hoping for Inverloch Kongwak to stumble somewhere.
In the end, IK didn’t stumble, and two premiership points separated them from Dalyston on top of the ladder.
* D Grade Netball – Inverloch Kongwak
ONE loss against Dalyston in round four was the only blemish on an otherwise dominant season from Inverloch Kongwak’s D Grade side.
The Sea Eagles started the year on fire, but the four-point Magpie loss showed they weren’t impossible to stop.
After the loss, IK went on an absolute rampage winning the rest of their games by no less than 14 points, except for the six-point win over Bunyip in the final game of the year.
Dalyston’s form after their win against IK showed they probably weren’t the threat the competition thought they were, instead it was Nar Nar Goon, Bunyip and Tooradin Dalmore who emerged as the closest challengers.
However, IK was able to hold them all off throughout the home and away season, showing they were thoroughly deserving of the minor premiership and would have been a short favourite to win the minor premiership.
* 17 and under – Inverloch Kongwak
A DIFFICULT fixture to kick off the season saw Inverloch Kongwak’s under 17s drop a game to Korumburra Bena by four points in round three.
Prior to that they had handled Cora Lynn and Tooradin Dalmore, and they rediscovered that form against Dalyston in round four, winning by 19 points.
And from there it was smooth sailing for the Sea Eagles.
Apart from two relatively close games against the Warragul Industrials and Phillip Island, IK ran the table and sealed top spot by one win.
Koo Wee Rup was hot on their tales, but IK’s round 10 win over the Demons showed they weren’t on top of the ladder by luck.
They weren’t a certainty to take home the trophy, but once again it was theirs to lose.
* 15 and under – Korumburra Bena
AN UNDEFEATED season with a percentage of 265 would suggest Korumburra Bena’s under 15s were an unstoppable force in 2021, but they weren’t the invincible side the ladder suggests.
They had no issues in their first four games of the year against quality opponents, but in round five, they were pushed right to the limit against Tooradin Dalmore.
The Giants came home with the win against the Seagulls, albeit by one point, but they weren’t past the tough opponents yet.
Cora Lynn was a difficult opponent who they managed to get past, but in round 10 they met Phillip Island, who were also undefeated at the time.
The Island had been even more dominant prior to their round 10 meeting, and many would’ve been tipping they were the two sides who will meet in the grand final.
The hosting Korumburra Bena side fought tooth and nail against the young pups and eventually came away with a five-point win, all but sealing their first-place finish.
The Giants handled Koo Wee Rup by 24 points the following week and sealed the minor premiership.
Phillip Island would’ve liked their chances come the big dance, but nothing can be taken away from a resilient Korumburra Bena side.
* 13 and under – Korumburra Bena
LIKE their comrades in the under 15s, Korumburra Bena’s under 13s didn’t drop a single game in 2021.
But once again, it could’ve easily been a different story.
Their perfect record included a round one win over Nar Nar Goon by one point and another one-point win over the Warragul Industrials in round four.
They also only beat Tooradin Dalmore by six points and Kilcunda Bass by four points in rounds five and six, but in the second half of the year, they put their foot to the throttle.
No one could get within reaching distance of the Giants after round six and they capped off their stellar season with a seven-point win over the second-placed Koo Wee Rup.
They may have been tested throughout the year, but they remained on top of the ladder by two wins, highlighting how consistently good they were.
* 11 and under – Koo Wee Rup
THE youngest minor premiers in the West Gippsland Football Netball competition might’ve been the most impressive in 2021.
In Koo Wee Rup’s seven games in the under 11s the closest any team came to them was eight points.
The young Demons were a dominant force, winning all their games with an average margin of 18 points.
Cora Lynn, who lost just one game for the year, was close in second place, but even they were no match for Koo Wee Rup, going down by 13 points in round three.
Koo Wee Rup will be hoping those young stars can set up the future of their netball club.