The Benalla Saints’ netball and footy sides are both nearing goals they set out to achieve in pre-season.
The Goulburn Valley netball and footy leagues had a split round, meaning neither side played on the weekend, lending a chance to reflect on what they want to accomplish this season.
Before the start of the season in April, The Ensign asked Saints netball head coach Dylan Nexhip and footy head coach Luke Morgan what they hoped to achieve this year, and who their key players would be in achieving that goal.
Nexhip said attaining a top-three position was their aim, and skipper Tylah Marchbank and goal shooter Grace Thomas would be their keys to success.
After 15 rounds of action, and with three games remaining, Nexhip’s side is fourth on the ladder, after eight wins, a draw and six losses.
For the netballers to break into the top three, Shepparton United must lose its next two matches — against sixth-placed Mooroopna and ladder-leader Kyabram.
It also means the Saints must beat Rochester (ninth), Mansfield (12th) and Tatura (11th).
‘‘I think they’re all winnable games. We beat them all when we faced them in the league at the start of the year, and I think we have gotten better as the season has progressed, so hopefully we can beat them again,’’ Nexhip said.
‘‘I think (Marchbank and Thomas) have been great in an up and down season. Tylah has been our most consistent player, I’d say, and Grace has been a strong target for us.
‘‘Grace Amarant has also done a wonderful job in her first season in A-grade.’’
Meanwhile, before the season Morgan said his side’s aim was to play finals footy, and anything extra was a bonus. He said if youngsters Brody Webster, Charlie Morrison, James Marchbank, Patrick Robinson and Lachlan Thompson could make the step up to senior footy, the team could go far this year.
The Saints have secured a finals berth after seventh-placed Echuca’s loss to high-flying Shepparton Bears on Saturday, guaranteeing them a top-six finish.
They could finish as high as third if Seymour and Euroa slip up and the Saints win all remaining matches against Rochester (sixth), Mansfield (eighth) and Tatura (ninth).
Morgan was unavailable for comment.