Horsham Saints claimed the 2017 and 2018 A Grade premiership | Best of the decade

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WIMMERA netball followers wouldn’t have to turn back the clock too far to remember Horsham Saints’ back-to-back A Grade premierships. For two consecutive years, the Saints did what no-one could have predicted. They won the 2017 and 2018 Wimmera Netball Association flags – both by a slim, one-goal margin. Adding to that, the team finished both home-and-away seasons with the same result. Recording eight wins and eight losses, the Saints fought hard to get through to the grand final – having a tough draw across both seasons. If players and supporters thought déjà vu wasn’t a thing, there would be some belief now. In 2017, the Saints toppled Minyip-Murtoa in the grand final. The Burras finished second on the ladder on percentage. RELATED: Horsham Saints claim the 2017 glory | PHOTOS, VIDEO The Burras breezed their way into the grand final, claiming wins against Warrack Eagles and Horsham to be awarded the week off before the big dance. Meanwhile, the Saints faced Dimboola in the elimination final – winning comfortably by 23 goals. A close tussle with Warrack Eagles – a winning margin of six goals – saw the Saints through to the preliminary final against Horsham. A strong first quarter was the difference. Saints claimed the victory from the reigning premiers by eight goals, meaning for the first time in a number of years, Horsham wouldn’t feature in the A Grade grand final. Coach Shannon Cross, née Reinheimer, said she wanted to see a season of development when she accepted the coaching role for season 2017. “We had lots of young players in the side and had the vision of developing our under-17 players,” she said. “We thought making it to the finals would be a goal. “Fighting our way through to the finals and making it to the grand final exceeded our expectations and was a dream come true.” Lining up against Minyip-Murtoa, Cross said the young Saints team went into the game with not one player having experienced an A Grade grand final before. “It was a matter of taking one game, one quarter, one moment at a time,” she said. “Really, we were just happy to make the finals and celebrated every win like we won the grand final in the lead-up. “We had nothing to lose. We went out and played the best we could, and thankfully we got the result in the end.” The Burras were able to get the early jump on the Saints, holding an eight-goal lead at quarter-time. An even second quarter added to the excitement of the game, as the Saints kept up with the Burras. For the third quarter, Ashley Hobbs came off the bench to replace Jess Cannane at wing defence. The fresh pair of legs helped the Saints reset and narrow the Burras’ consistent lead. Four goals separated the teams at three-quarter time. As the end drew closer, the Saints were able to level the scores and went goal-for-goal against the Burras. As the siren sounded, a swarm of red, black and white descended onto the netball courts in celebration. The Saints had won their first flag since 2004. Cross said the camaraderie between teammates was something that couldn’t be formulated. “There was so much positive talk both on and off the court, and there was such a positive vibe which helped keep the team going,” she said. “I know that helped a lot during the season and going into the next.” During the 2018 season, the memory of the 2017 flag was fresh in their minds. Their incredible feat was the driving force behind many messages that Cross delivered to her players. “We referred back to the 2017 grand final a lot during the season,” Cross said. “We knew that anything could happen. It doesn’t matter how many goals we were down, there was a chance we could win. “We concentrated on pegging back, one turnover at a time.” The Saints found themselves in familiar territory at the end of the home-and-away season of 2018, having just snuck into finals with a fifth-place finish. The Saints knocked out Ararat in the elimination final with ease – 26 goals was the final margin. Up against the Burras in the semi-final, the Saints’ second half proved too strong, claiming a 12-goal victory after scores were level at half-time. RELATED: Saints go back-to-back in A Grade | Wimmera Netball Association grand final Fast forward to the preliminary final, the Saints were down at half-time and managed to turn the game around, advancing to the grand final after an 11-goal win. Cross said to make the finals for the second year in a row was “magical”. Set to face Horsham, the Saints had recent memories on their minds. The match went goal-for-goal in the first few minutes, before the Saints upped the ante and opened up a four-goal lead at quarter time. Horsham made changes to its line-up at the break, which worked in their favour. But, the Saints went into the main break up by a goal. The Demons managed to carve out a four-goal lead late in the quarter, which they took into the final change. The Demons surged ahead in the fourth to get the margin to seven. But a run of goals to the Saints had them back in it. They levelled the scores. The match went goal-for-goal again in the final minutes and could have gone either way, but when the buzzer sounded it was victory for the Saints. The final score, 60-59. Cross said the crowd made a difference. “The crowd really helped us get up and get over those tough games in those years,” she said. “They definitely got us up and going when we were down.” While you’re with us, you can now receive updates straight to your inbox twice weekly from the Wimmera Mail-Times. To make sure you’re up-to-date with all the news from across the Wimmera, sign up here.

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WIMMERA netball followers wouldn’t have to turn back the clock too far to remember Horsham Saints’ back-to-back A Grade premierships.

For two consecutive years, the Saints did what no-one could have predicted.

They won the 2017 and 2018 Wimmera Netball Association flags – both by a slim, one-goal margin.

Adding to that, the team finished both home-and-away seasons with the same result.

Recording eight wins and eight losses, the Saints fought hard to get through to the grand final – having a tough draw across both seasons.

If players and supporters thought déjà vuwasn’t a thing, there would be some belief now.

In 2017, the Saints toppled Minyip-Murtoa in the grand final. The Burras finished second on the ladder on percentage.

The Burras breezed their way into the grand final, claiming wins against Warrack Eagles and Horsham to be awarded the week off before the big dance.

Meanwhile, the Saints faced Dimboola in the elimination final – winning comfortably by 23 goals.

A close tussle with Warrack Eagles – a winning margin of six goals – saw the Saints through to the preliminary final against Horsham.

A strong first quarter was the difference. Saints claimed the victory from the reigning premiers by eight goals, meaning for the first time in a number of years, Horsham wouldn’t feature in the A Grade grand final.

LOOK BACK: A young Horsham Saints side overcame the odds to win the 2017 A Grade premiership.

LOOK BACK: A young Horsham Saints side overcame the odds to win the 2017 A Grade premiership.

Coach Shannon Cross, née Reinheimer, said she wanted to see a season of development when she accepted the coaching role for season 2017.

“We had lots of young players in the side and had the vision of developing our under-17 players,” she said.

“We thought making it to the finals would be a goal.

“Fighting our way through to the finals and making it to the grand final exceeded our expectations and was a dream come true.”

Lining up against Minyip-Murtoa, Cross said the young Saints team went into the game with not one player having experienced an A Grade grand final before.

“It was a matter of taking one game, one quarter, one moment at a time,” she said.

“Really, we were just happy to make the finals and celebrated every win like we won the grand final in the lead-up.

“We had nothing to lose. We went out and played the best we could, and thankfully we got the result in the end.”

The Burras were able to get the early jump on the Saints, holding an eight-goal lead at quarter-time.

An even second quarter added to the excitement of the game, as the Saints kept up with the Burras.

For the third quarter, Ashley Hobbs came off the bench to replace Jess Cannane at wing defence.

The fresh pair of legs helped the Saints reset and narrow the Burras’ consistent lead. Four goals separated the teams at three-quarter time.

As the end drew closer, the Saints were able to level the scores and went goal-for-goal against the Burras.

As the siren sounded, a swarm of red, black and white descended onto the netball courts in celebration.

The Saints had won their first flag since 2004.

Cross said the camaraderie between teammates was something that couldn’t be formulated.

“There was so much positive talk both on and off the court, and there was such a positive vibe which helped keep the team going,” she said.

“I know that helped a lot during the season and going into the next.”

During the 2018 season, the memory of the 2017 flag was fresh in their minds. Their incredible feat was the driving force behind many messages that Cross delivered to her players.

“We referred back to the 2017 grand final a lot during the season,” Cross said.

“We knew that anything could happen. It doesn’t matter how many goals we were down, there was a chance we could win.

“We concentrated on pegging back, one turnover at a time.”

The Saints found themselves in familiar territory at the end of the home-and-away season of 2018, having just snuck into finals with a fifth-place finish.

The Saints knocked out Ararat in the elimination final with ease – 26 goals was the final margin.

Up against the Burras in the semi-final, the Saints’ second half proved too strong, claiming a 12-goal victory after scores were level at half-time.

Fast forward to the preliminary final, the Saints were down at half-time and managed to turn the game around, advancing to the grand final after an 11-goal win.

Cross said to make the finals for the second year in a row was “magical”.

Set to face Horsham, the Saints had recent memories on their minds.

The match went goal-for-goal in the first few minutes, before the Saints upped the ante and opened up a four-goal lead at quarter time.

Horsham made changes to its line-up at the break, which worked in their favour. But, the Saints went into the main break up by a goal.

Supporters played a big role from the sidelines cheering the players on and celebrating after the win.

Supporters played a big role from the sidelines cheering the players on and celebrating after the win.

The Demons managed to carve out a four-goal lead late in the quarter, which they took into the final change.

The Demons surged ahead in the fourth to get the margin to seven.

But a run of goals to the Saints had them back in it. They levelled the scores.

The match went goal-for-goal again in the final minutes and could have gone either way, but when the buzzer sounded it was victory for the Saints. The final score, 60-59.

Cross said the crowd made a difference.

“The crowd really helped us get up and get over those tough games in those years,” she said.

“They definitely got us up and going when we were down.”

While you’re with us, you can now receive updates straight to your inbox twice weekly from the Wimmera Mail-Times. To make sure you’re up-to-date with all the news from across the Wimmera, sign up here.

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