Seymour Lions roar home to secure win

By Seymour Telegraph

Seymour has cemented its spot in the Goulburn Valley League A-grade netball grand final after a heart-stopping one-goal victory against Echuca on Saturday.

All hell broke loose at Euroa's Memorial Oval netball courts, when the final siren was drowned out by the rapturous celebrations from Seymour supporters.

The Lions — staring at a four-goal deficit halfway through the final term — roared home to claim a memorable 47-46 victory and return to the premiership decider for the first time since 2016.

"Everyone was so stoked and just super happy," Seymour coach Elle McDonald said.

"It was great to see so many spectators there too, it really added to the pressure of the game."

The match was evenly balanced throughout its entirety, with both sides holding leads at the intervals.

Echuca's two-goal lead at quarter-time was reversed when Seymour shot 16 goals in the second quarter to hold a 26-24 lead at the main break.

Seymour's Jess Lallo was performing brilliantly in goal attack, while her Echuca counterpart Claudia Mawson led the way for the Murray Bombers.

But with a grand final spot on the line, nerves soon took hold of players on the court.

Elle McDonald prepares to fire off a pass. Picture: Wayne Herring

Despite the strong games from both sides' attacking ends, the scoring dipped in the second half.

The intensity rose in the final term, as the reigning premiers edged out to a 42-38 lead with just more than five minutes remaining.

Seymour clawed its way back to draw level at 44-all, with crucial intercepts from shutdown defenders Sarah Szczykulski and Meg Grbac helping slow down Echuca's shooters.

A goal from Echuca's experienced shooter Casey Frame was quickly followed by a clutch goal from Lallo at the other end as the game was tied again at 45-all.

Seymour pounced on a turnover and got the ball in the hands of Ellie O'Sullivan, who pushed her side into the lead, followed by another goal to Lallo.

With little time remaining, Frame pulled Echuca back within one goal after a turnover.

The level-headed shooter then found the ball in her hands with seconds remaining, but was closer to the circle than the ring.

Frame's long-throw to tie the game popped up off the rim and as Echuca players and supporters gasped in anticipation, the ball fell the right way for Seymour hopefuls.

"It felt like a goal-for-goal shootout," McDonald said.

"Meg (Grbac) and Jess (Lallo) were consistent all day, they played their role exactly the way they have been training."

Saturday's victory now has Seymour waiting to play the winner of the Echuca and Shepparton United preliminary final.

"We've got a bit of time now, but we just need to stick to usual process," McDonald said.

"We need to make sure that the girls believe in themselves now."