Saints march in

September 27, 2017

Benalla Saints netballers topped off a strong season in the best way possible when they took out the B grade premiership in Shepparton on Sunday. Photo: Michael Thomson.

It will be a grand final the players will tell their grandchildren about — the match the Saints became premiers.

After a season with 14 wins from 18 games, the Saints’ B-graders executed what their head coach called a ‘‘well-composed’’ 38-34 victory.

The Saints led from the front for the whole match against Echuca at Deakin Reserve on Sunday afternoon.

Head coach Dylan Nexhip said he was happy with the way his girls went about their work in the final.

‘‘I was very happy with the performance and the result. I think we played well the whole game and we got the job done,’’ he said.

‘‘We started off (the season) very well and were the benchmark of the competition all year. We did the finals the hard way, but got the title in the end.’’

A number of Saints were in their first season of senior netball.

‘‘In terms of talent coming through, they all really stood up, and as a couple of them are 16 or 17-year-olds in their first year of seniors, they’ll take a lot from this,’’ Nexhip said. ‘‘I would expect to see a lot of them go up (to A-grade) next year and go on from there.’’

Nexhip was also in charge of the A-grade side that fell to the Shepparton Swans in the first qualifying final earlier in the month.

‘‘Losing A-grade the way we did was not the result we wanted at all. We wanted to play another week, but we didn’t get up against the Swans,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s even more pleasing to have won this one. Last time we played them (Echuca) we got the jump on them early, but they fought back. This time we did a really good job of staying composed and building our lead without letting them back in.’’

Nexhip said it was too early to make a call on who would be making the jump from B-grade to A-grade next year, but said the whole side had a foot in the door.

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