Deni Rovers' A grade campaign to secure back-to-back Picola & District League premierships came to a heartbreaking end at the hands of Picola United at Strathmerton on Saturday.
Despite a tenacious final quarter fight-back that saw the game go into extra time, the Blues pulled through to ensure the Roos will miss the grand final for the first time in five years.
In what was a very physical and highly contested match, Picola came out fighting from the first whistle.
Rovers playing-coach Carissa Bulmer drew particular attention from her defensive opponent but the Roos managed to weather the storm and battled on with determination.
Sienna Jenkins was a stand-out for Deni in what has been a stellar year for this rising star, hardly putting a foot wrong and providing quick ball to shooters, Bulmer and Janice Hilton.
Picola’s lead at the first break was nullified by half-time when scores were even.
The situation looked grim in the third quarter with United scoring 12 goals to Rovers 1.
Passages of poor play and inaccuracy were punished by the Blues, with Emily Atkinson putting on a shooting display in the circle.
In the final break, Bulmer urged her players to dig deep and stick to their game plan.
In an amazing turn-around, every Roos team members took it up a notch, outplaying their opponents all over the court and instigating an 11 goal come-back.
Unfortunately, time halted their drive and the game was drawn, forcing the teams into extra time.
The battle continued but Picola gained the ascendancy and ran out winners by seven goals.
Bulmer praised her players for fighting so hard and never giving up.
“It’s been a tough year”, she said.
“We started the year with two disastrous injuries to Nat Welfare and Nat Sampson, and had weeks when we didn’t know if we could field a team.
"Thankfully, we have had our four juniors, Sienna Jenkins, Abbey Wills, Edwina Barclay and Montana Muldoon-Leetham, step up and be active parts of the A grade squad.
"We all get along so well, support each other and play clean netball week after week.
"In every game, there’s a winner and a loser and, unfortunately this week, we were the losing team.”
Final score, Picola Utd 53 to Deni Rovers 47.
The C grade Rovers were no match against Berrigan, with the Saints finishing with a 52 goal win at Strathmerton on Saturday.
The Roos worked hard to apply pressure down the court forcing Berrigan to make small but crucial errors.
Charlotte Murdoch and Jemma Keast applied great pressure in the ring and rebounded a few loose shots.
Casey-Lee Thommers and Ashley Petterwood worked tirelessly throughout the midcourt, by being a voice for the side and applying pressure when needed.
Despite the margin, the Rovers never gave up.
Final score, Berrigan 70 to Deni Rovers 18.
The C reserve Roos will have the chance to earn back-to-back premierships after a one goal win over a previously undefeated Rennie side at Strathmerton on Saturday.
The Rovers came out strong from the start, applying pressure over the court and creating great passages of play.
The whole of Rovers Football and Netball Club will be backing the girls this weekend who have worked hard all season to get themselves in this fantastic position.
The team has a great mixture of experience and enthusiasm which is tipped to get them over the line.
Final score, Deni Rovers 30 to Rennie 29.
The Roos will come up against Katunga in the decider at Berrigan on Saturday.
It was another tight game for the Rovers Under 17s the result unfortunately didn’t go their way in a three goal loss to Picola United at Strathmerton on Saturday.
Montana Muldoon-Leetham was outstanding for the Roos, setting the tempo with her composed passing, speedy drives and contests onto the ball.
She brought the ball down from the relentless duo in defence, Maisy Edwards and league best and fairest Edwina Barclay.
Both girls, created many turnovers throughout the clash.
The captain's job was made easier with Hayley Whitehorn timing her leads well and feeding some precision passes into our shooters.
Sophie Strong did not leave anything in the tank, fighting hard all game and her off-sider Elly Blake made a late surge, shooting with some brilliant accuracy to almost get us over the line.
Unfortunately time was against the Roos, with the Blues holding on to victory.
Final score, Picola Utd 41 to Deni Rovers 38.
The Rovers U15s were simply no match for Blighty, suffering a 20 goal loss at Memorial Park on Sunday.
The Redeyes came out strongly to lead 12 to 4 in at quarter time and Deni couldn’t narrow the gap for rest of the game.
The Roos played their hearts out however made too many mistakes under the intense pressure.
Final score, Blighty 44 to Deni Rovers 24.
In cold and blistery conditions, the young Under 13s Roos took on the Blighty girls from up the road in a match that would secure a spot in the grand final.
The Rovers could not bring home the win despite their best efforts.
Final score, Blighty 20 to Deni Rovers 16?.