IT may have been interrupted and a stop and start season, but 2021 was a breakthrough year for Jeparit-Rainbow's A Grade side.
The Storm clinched finals for the first time in the Horsham District League, breaking a hoodoo that stretches back to 2015.
Coach Jo Martin was thrilled with the way her side went about the games in a season unlike any other.
"We were really happy (with this season), aside from the stopping and starting," she said.
"The girls have been really consistent, and have taken it up to a couple of the top sides. Pushing Harrow to within four goals in the first couple of rounds was really exciting.
"It just laid us in good stead for the rest of the season, knowing that we're good enough to compete in the top six.
"It's just really good to see the girls with big smiles on their faces and enjoying their netball."
The Storm can take solace in the fact that their only losses in 2021 came to sides above them on the ladder; tough competitors such as Harrow-Balmoral, Noradjuha-Quantong, Kaniva-Leeor and Laharum, meaning the Storm more than earned their place in the top six.
However, as with many sides the interruptions to the season due to COVID-19 lockdowns made it hard for Storm to build momentum.
"It's really hard to keep everyone focusing. You've got two weeks off and then you have to start again. But that's across the board, you could just see that everywhere."
The difficulties were exacerbated when the season was put on hold yet again on the eve of the Storm's maiden Horsham District finals campaign.
"The girls were training so well when we got canned at the eleventh hour... everyone was really excited to play finals. The last training we had they were raring to go. We'd done all the work mentally and physically."
Speaking to the Mail-Times, Martin said it was hard to pick the Storm's best players of the year.
Luring star netballer Penny Fisher home from the Warrack Eagles was a big coup for the Storm according to Martin.
"Having Penny back just put a whole new light on the side. They went in with confidence," she said.
"Knowing that she was coming back, I think the girls were spurred on to do a good job.
"I was also very impressed with Georgia Batson, who just came on. She added a wonderful element in the goal ring with her height and her ability.
"Bridget McKenzie was given a lot of big jobs on tougher opponents during the season. She has an uncanny knack to put people off their game slightly. Our captain, Ellie Schumann was also great, she gets in and gets the job done every week."
Having broken their hoodoo, the Storm will look to go one step further in 2022 and clinch the club's first A Grade flag in the HDFNL.
"We'll hopefully be welcoming back Riley Cocks who we lost to a knee injury in February pre-season. She's back up and running," Martin said.
"We'll have have another few potential recruits as well."
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