ECHUCA Netball Club has each of its teams in the finals of the Goulburn Valley League after A grade drew with Mansfield at Mansfield Recreation Reserve on Saturday.
The stars aligned for the Murray Bombers as they narrowly scraped into sixth on the ladder by percentage at the end of round 18.
They were close to seeing their season ended, but a 44-all draw was enough to boost them into the finals joining the rest of the teams.
Coach Casey Frame said the mood completely changed from after the game thinking the year was done to then find out Euroa, which was sixth going into the final home and away match, had fallen short against Seymour.
Frame said the game at the weekend was incredibly tight and a fairly sloppy and physical hit out.
‘‘It was really hard for our girls to win possession,’’ she said.
‘‘The game tested our patience and discipline.
‘‘One minute we were up and the next minute they were up.’’
The Murray Bombers faced a completely different line-up from their first encounter with the Eagles and although they expected it to be close, they weren’t anticipating such a physical and grinding contest.
They were up by two at quarter-time, 12-10, but were never confidently in front at any stage.
The home side wrestled back the lead in the second quarter, outscoring Echuca 11 goals to eight, after forcing the Murray Bombers to go cross-court and picking off the passes.
‘‘We worked incredibly hard in defence but as soon as the ball was in our hands we had no one driving to it,’’ Frame said.
‘‘Dearnah Kent did well bringing the ball out of defence and Meg Rohde was consistent in the wing defence role.
‘‘When we got it down to our goalies Liv Hannon shot really well and drove hard at the ball and Drysy (Lisa Drysdale) held her own in the ring even though she took a smashing from the opposition defence.’’
Echuca had a two-goal advantage going into the final quarter, but the Eagles had the first centre and kept the game level from that point on.
There were moments out of their control during the game as Eve Gregor went down with a knee injury late in the third quarter.
It was the same court Frame had done her knee and she said it brought back a lot of memories for the club.
The extent of Gregor’s injury couldn’t be confirmed until results from scans later this week.
‘‘We felt it was a real shame to go out on that game, but when all the results came through the whole morale completely changed,’’ Frame said.
‘‘We’ll play Shepparton United in the first round and we’re excited to get another try at them after only playing them once during the season.
‘‘We won quite convincingly the first time, but finals is completely different and no one knows what will happen.
‘‘We put in a lot of effort in the second half of the season and deserve our spot.
‘‘We’re unsure yet whether we’ll have Eve, but we’ve got a lot of motivation and enthusiasm and will be giving it our best shot.
‘‘We pushed most of the teams in the top six and have a strong belief to do it again — we’re not just making up numbers.’’