THUNDER CLAP: City cool under grand final pressure
NETBALL: A second-quarter attacking blitz has delivered a fairytale finish to the A-grade season for a young City Thunder outfit.
Thunder, led by the efforts of Charlotte Sommer and the shooting prowess of rising star Tahlia O'Hara, held tough in the final two quarters to maintain a 11-point lead and secure a 33-21 grand final victory over Northside NYX.
It was a proud moment for captain Emersyn Burton, who was unsure if she would be continuing with the club next year.
"A lot of the girls in the side are in Year 12, myself included, so we don't know where we might be next season,” she said.
"For a lot of us it is our last game together, so to go out grand final winners after playing together since we were 12 is very special.
"I am really proud of this side. I am proud of the junior girls who backed up with two grand finals and I am proud of the senior girls who helped guide them through their first year of senior netball.”
It was a nail-biting grand final between the two evenly matched sides, with both sides struggling to land the killer blow in the early stages.
Northside went ahead early in the first quarter, only to be pegged back by their opponents, while the last two quarters were a thrilling back-and-forth style of play.
But it was a second-quarter goal-scoring blitz from the Thunder that proved the ultimate difference.
"It was pretty low-scoring across the board and it was just a great defensive game between the two sides,” Burton said.
"We would get one really good intercept down one end and then lose the ball again before we hit the circle. The pressure from both sides was amazing and the full court defence was working overtime.
"We really had to work hard to hold on to that lead and the girls all over the court really stepped up to ensure that.”
Sommer, who rotated between the forward circle and wing attack, picked up the player of the grand final award for her extra efforts.
It was a complete turnaround for the former representative player, who was long odds to even play this season after spending last year off the courts.
"She really switched on in the back half of the year after spending so much time off the courts,” Burton said.
"She was only a last-minute addition to our side this season but she is a good, hard player who puts in a consistent effort each week.
"To be honest, the award could have gone to a number of players on both sides of the court but it went to a deserving recipient.”
Burton praised her opposition for a tough and fair grand final and thanked all umpires who helped out on the association's grand final day.
In the B-grade clash, which was on court at the same time as the main event, Redmen Jaca Hotel re-found their winning ways against a valiant Rhinos Rebels outfit.