AS THE Horsham Saints A Grade netball side put together a strong run of form in the second half of the season Vernetta Taylor was not all that surprised.
“I had really high hopes at the start of the season. It was quite disappointing to be losing those games by a couple of goals early but I never gave up faith,” she said. “Now we’re very excited, the last half of the season has been outstanding.”
After dropping their first five games of the season the side fought its way back to fourth place at the end of round 16.
The club’s netball director suspected at the start of the season a young squad of players could end up challenging even the best teams in the association.
“It has all just been coming together at the right time,” Taylor said.
After blowing Dimboola away in the first week of finals the Saints side built a strong lead early against a more experienced Warrack Eagles in the first semi-final.
The Eagles came back strongly though and levelled the match late.
“To Warrack’s credit they came back at us really strong,” Taylor said. “All credit to our girls because they were able to pull it together and get across the line by six.”
After losing close games early in the season the ability to hold on showed the growth within the team.
“Coaches Jess (Cannane) and Shannon (Reinheimer) have put in a lot of effort and the team has worked very hard,” Taylor said. “It has really paid off and the fingers are crossed again for Sunday.”
It will be a daunting task to take down Horsham Demons in the preliminary final but Taylor thinks this group has it in them. She is regularly courtside from the first to the last whistle of the day. In the ten years since she returned to Horsham with husband Mat she has watched many of the club’s key A grade players develop.
“To be able to see them progress through and now be in our A Grade side has been wonderful,” she said.
“We haven’t had a great deal of A Grade success over that time but we’re hoping that this is the beginning of something special.”
She also credits the introduction of a C grade team as something that has really helped the club welcome more families back.
That is crucial for Vernetta, Mat and their four children who often see the club as a second home. “The kids feel very at home here,” she said.
“We know that when we dress them in their Saints gear all the members, supporters and players will keep an eye out for their own.
“We consider the Horsham Saints as part of our extended family.”
While she said the club takes up a lot of her time there was nothing she would rather be doing.
“I have no idea what I’d be doing on Saturday if it wasn’t for football and netball; maybe some housework,” she said. “Maybe the gardening would get done and some other desperately needed home renovations but we wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”