Jessie Barnes-Hill will enter her second consecutive grand final on Sunday.
The Shepparton United ace last year lined-up for Rumbalara as playing coach.
After leading a turnaround where Rumba rose from some lean years to a Murray Netball League grand final, Barnes-Hill said the 15-goal loss to Echuca United was shattering.
‘‘I was actually talking about that at training (on Tuesday night) and thinking about that feeling last year and reliving that game and I always think I could have done this better or that better,’’ she said.
‘‘But you learn from your mistakes and come game day it’s a whole different story, finals is different and you can play and expect certain structures on the day, but it can be a different story with different factors.’’
Moving across to the Demons, Barnes-Hill, 29, wanted to have another attempt at the top level.
She has played at Mooroopna, Shepparton and Shepparton Swans, returning to a new club in Shepparton United after a chance meeting.
Barnes-Hill came across midcourt ace Bree Hanslow, daughter of coach Di Hanslow last year.
‘‘I had Di as a coach when I was playing in the state league team when I was in juniors at around 16 or 17 (years old), so I’d been around the traps with her through junior development,’’ Barnes-Hill said.
‘‘Bree saw me down the street and got in my ear and after the season had finished said ‘come on what are you doing, where are you playing?’’’
She said she was content to just be a player again, instead of having the responsibilities of coach as at Rumbalara.
‘‘It takes off a massive amount of pressure, I’m really enjoying (not having to coach),’’ Barnes-Hill said.
‘‘I loved coaching and loved being a Rumba and it was a big learning curve and good for my coaching development, but it’s good not to have that additional pressure of who’s going to be starting seven and rotations.’’
Having been a goal shooter at Rumba she moved out to goal attack at United, being taught how to play the position this year with Kate Durling instrumental in passing on tips.
But what makes Barnes-Hill so dangerous is her ability to swing to defence.
Even in attack her defensive nature is evident as she covers her player when the opposition is on the attack.
Barnes-Hill has to be ready at a moment’s notice for any change from Hanslow, although she said that went for most in the team.
‘‘We all (have to be prepared) for whatever and sometimes Di can do last minute changes and you just have to roll with it,’’ she said.
‘‘Luckily we’re quite a diverse team... we’re pretty lucky with depth.’’
An athletic player with a brilliant leap and a high reach, Barnes-Hill played a host of sports growing up, including athletics, basketball and cricket.
‘‘I had a go at basketball, but I wasn’t very good, I couldn’t get the dribbling right, so I played a netball style of basketball,’’ she said.
Her booming voice on court spurs the side on and Barnes-Hill can recognise what could be a turning point in games.
In the preliminary final against Shepparton, United forced a held-ball call that led to a goal as the Demons surged early in the third quarter.
A Barnes-Hill cheer following the goal was also the moment United began to build a comeback.
‘‘That’s just a bit of me, something that comes out like an alter ego, I don’t mean to be that forward, but I’ve just got so much passion and love for the game that it fires up and I don’t have control and I blurt it out,’’ she said.
Barnes-Hill played in the GVL interleague side this year after featuring in the MNL team last season.
She also claimed the MNL’s best-and-fairest award by a mammoth 15 votes.
Taking the court for the GVL against Ovens and Murray this year, she could not play in the Association Championships after injuring her ankle in the lead-up.
But Barnes-Hill still went down to lend her encouraging voice to the side.
The star player was a welcome addition back to the region’s netball courts after four years away from the sport that included living in Melbourne and having her daughter Niranoma, 2.
There were times when the Demons did not know how far they could progress in the finals after a mid-season slump, but Barnes-Hill is driven by the chance to try and secure a premiership by defeating the best.
‘‘I’m just really proud to be lining up with the team I’ve got and it’s an absolute honour to be lining up against a team like Ky, they’re absolute freaks in the best possible way,’’ she said.