Lakers overjoyed to win flag

September 27, 2017

Rapt: Nagambie's star defender Vikki Bester enjoys the sweet victory.

What a win: Rachael Mundy, Danica Worthington, Elizabeth Fuhrmeister and Sarah O'Sullivan celebrate the extra-time victory on court.

Well played: Nagambie sharp shooter Bianca Willis claimed best-on-court honours in her side's A-grade win.

Hard-earned: Nagambie's Vikki Bester and Danica Worthington lap up celebrations.

A-grade premier, Nagambie: (Back, from left) Bianca Willis, Vikki Bester, Rachael Mundy, Abby Misiti (coach), Danica Worthington, Sharni Lloyd. (Front) Katie Sullivan, Sarah O'Sullivan, Morgan Zotti and Elizabeth Fuhrmeister.

It always seemed as though Nagambie had one hand on the premiership cup throughout Saturday’s A-grade grand final.

But the Lakers just couldn’t quite shake a dogged Tallygaroopna to establish any sort of convincing lead.

In a game that will go down as one of the best grand finals in recent memory, the match went in to overtime, before Nagambie eventually prevailed to claim its second premiership in three years.

‘‘I felt like the girls were in control for a lot of the match. We had a five-goal lead at one stage in the last, but we just couldn’t shake them,’’ Nagambie coach Abby Misiti said.

‘‘Tallygaroopna are just one of those teams, they’ve been there so many times before and they are relentless and they keep at you right until the end.

‘‘We made a few errors, had a few missed shots on goal and we didn’t look after our turnovers and Tally really made us pay.’’

Misiti credits her side’s versatility as one of the key factors that eventually got the Lakers over the line by two goals.

‘‘After last year’s (grand final) defeat, it was clear we were not very versatile and we didn’t have the flexibility in the team that we probably should have, so one of our team goals this year was ensuring everyone in the group could play in at least two or three positions,’’ she said.

‘‘We were much more prepared to run rotations this season and I think that made a lot of difference on Saturday.’’

One of the key rotations that Misiti pulled was Elizabeth Fuhrmeister’s switch in to the centre.

Katie Sullivan has long been the Lakers’ driving force in centre, but her stint at wing-attack on Saturday continued to allow her to do what she does best, while it freed up Fuhrmeister to move from wing-defence in to centre — and it had an immediate impact.

Fuhrmeister ran the centre during the 14-minutes of extra-time, and her height and fitness was paramount for the Lakers.

‘‘Going in to overtime and having fresh legs in centre when everyone else was fatigued, ‘Ipsy’ (Fuhrmeister) got her hands to so many balls and created some brilliant turnovers in that time,’’ Misiti said.

Just two players returned to the Lakers this season from last year’s defeated grand final side — Katie Sullivan and Bianca Willis — while Misiti was a non-playing part of the side this season.

But, with that defeat at the forefront of their minds, it was precisely those two players who played out of their skins to ensure the Lakers didn’t suffer the same fate in 2017.

‘‘I consider both of them in our best players on Saturday, and part of that was because of the disappointment they felt last year and they were not going to let that happen again,’’ Misiti said.

‘‘Katie came out firing and played probably her best game for year, she really had a big impact on the game.

‘‘Bianca goaled beautifully and was very deserving of her best on court. She played five quarters of netball and was excellent throughout, she never stopped once.

‘‘Both of them were extremely happy after the win that’s for sure.

‘‘I was really pleased with Morgan Zotti too, she was just relentless all day and applied the pressure which made it difficult for Tallygaroopna to attack.’’

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