In its first season in the Ovens and King Netball League, the Benalla All Blacks’ under-15s side has reached the grand final.
The young side made it through to the the milestone match when it beat Milawa in the semi-final at Tarrawingee Recreation Reserve earlier this month.
It will now head to the W.J. Findlay Oval in Wangaratta to face Bright in the grand final on Saturday morning.
Head coach Emma Sangster is in charge of the under-15 and under-17 netball sides, and has been a part of the All Blacks club for many years.
The two-goal win over Milawa cemented the side’s spot in this weekend’s grand final, with a number of girls standing up for the team.
Best on court were goal defence Ebony Mathieson, centre Holly Morrison and wing defence Lia Greenhalgh.
‘‘We’ve been really lucky with a lot of girls — they have played together at Churchill Reserve for a long time, so they have all known each other for a while, so I think that’s part of the reason why we’ve had a really good year,’’ Sangster said.
‘‘(Bright) wasn’t a side we lost against this year. We beat them twice, played them twice and beat them fairly comfortably this year, although they’re playing some good netball at the moment and it will be a good challenge.’’
Sangster said the team had gone so far this season due to its work ethic and collaborative efforts.
‘‘They all play really well and they share it around well,’’ she said.
‘‘We’ve got some really strong defenders in our captain Ebony Mathieson and our centre Holly Morrison, who runs and runs all day.
‘‘We’re very lucky to have some good players in the squad and those coming through as well.’’
Sangster predicts a closely-fought grand final, but she believes the Panthers will come out on top.
‘‘My prediction is that hopefully we win, but that’s as far as I’ll go,’’ she said.
‘‘It’ll be tough and it’ll be a nail-biter right to the end.’’