The Victorian Netball League has come to a thrilling finale following three entertaining Grand Finals at the State Netball Hockey Centre on Saturday.
The Geelong Cougars completed the double, with victories against DC North East Blaze and City West Falcons in the Division One and 19 Under Grand Finals respectively.
“I am so happy for the Division One and 19 Under girls, two wins is just incredible,” said Geelong Cougars Head Coach Gerard Murphy.
The night concluded with the DC North East Blaze winning their maiden Championship title.
Melbourne University Lightning 46 def by 49 DC North East Blaze
The DC North East Blaze claimed their maiden VNL Championship Division Premiership, defeating the reigning premiers, the Melbourne University Lightning, 49-46.
Both teams put their bodies on the line, playing a physical first half of netball, with the Lightning holding a narrow 22-21 lead at halftime.
The Lightning extended their lead to five-goals mid-way through the third quarter, before a spirited fightback from the Blaze, led by defensive duo Mary Livesey and Micaela Wilson, saw the two sides end the third quarter, 33-all.
The Blaze continued their momentum in the fourth, recording a memorable three-goal victory.
Blaze Goal Defender Micaela Wilson was named Player of the Match.
“I am over the moon, it is the first time our Championship team has won the premiership, it is huge for the club,” said Wilson.
“We hung in there, pushed when we needed to and came away with the win, so we are delighted.”
Geelong Cougars 60 def 55 DC North East Blaze
The Geelong Cougars defeated minor premiers, the DC North East Blaze in the Division 1 Grand Final, 60-55.
Nothing separated the two sides in the early stages, before the Cougars went on a run of four goals to lead 16-12 at quarter time.
That margin proved decisive, with the Blaze unable to get back in front.
“It was close up until the 12-minute mark and then in those last few minutes of the quarter we took a two-goal lead and that really cemented our momentum - then in the second and third quarters we really started to push away and capatalise,” said Murphy.
Zanna Woods was named Player of the Match, after a strong performance at Goal Attack for the Cougars.
Geelong Cougars 55 def 54 City West Falcons
The Geelong Cougars have gone back-to-back, winning consecutive 19/U Grand Finals after defeating the City West Falcons, 55-54.
Little separated the two sides in an entertaining first half, with both defences applying pressure up the court. The Falcons led 27-26 at halftime.
The two sides continued to go goal-for-goal at the start of the second half, before a late run by the Cougars saw them open up a crucial 42-40 lead at the final break.
Cougars Goal Attack, Ruby Barkmeyer was named Player of the Match, after some clutch long range shooting powered her side to a narrow one-goal win.
“In the last four games she has been awesome, shooting three quarters to half of the goals for the team at 95 percent - she bombs them from everywhere and it is such a confidence builder for the whole team,” said Murphy.