The perfect season.
It is something every team strives to achieve, but a feat not many accomplish.
Shepparton United’s 17-and-under netball side can now lay claim to perfection after securing the Goulburn Valley League premiership yesterday at Deakin Reserve.
The Demons annihilated Echuca in the the first half to set up the triumph, looking silky and poised with the ball across the court.
It showed on the scoreboard as well, with United taking an 11-1 lead into quarter-time before pulling further away in the second term.
The 29-5 half-time score ensured the remainder of the clash could be a procession of fun for the Demons, with players swapped around numerous times.
It allowed Echuca to lift its intensity, recording consecutive goals for the first time of the match early in the third stanza, but in the end it could only manage 13 for the entirety of the contest.
United’s A-grade experience shone through massively at the junior level, with Elle Brookes, Laura Cole and Olivia Kirby dominating their respective positions.
Brookes, playing as goal shooter, had 30 attempts on goal in the first half, netting 21 of them in extremely tough, windy conditions.
With their teammate on fire up the other end of the court, Cole (later awarded the Most Valuable Player medal) and Kirby patrolled the Demons’ defensive end with supreme class, cutting off a plethora of Echuca attacks.
In fact, the Murray Bombers only managed 12 shots on goal for the half.
Bridget Byrne, Alex Tenace and Molly Byrne tried hard all day for Echuca, but struggled to penetrate United’s superior press.
United coach Bree Hanslow praised the character of her charges after the win.
‘‘They’re a fantastic group of girls and they’ve done a great job today and conducted themselves really well, so we’re really proud of them,’’ she said.
‘‘We had a game plan and they stuck to it beautifully, and I think they really enjoyed having the opportunity to play all year and really enjoyed having the opportunity to come out and play today, so it was fantastic.’’
Hanslow said rather than the exploits of one player, it was a team effort which enabled the Demons to complete the perfect year.
‘‘It’s not probably something that we focused on, but they are a very talented bunch and work really well together, so they’re an absolute pleasure to coach,’’ she said.
‘‘I think it’s a real credit to them that they do play as a team and I think that’s their biggest strength so that was fantastic.’’