WARRACK Eagles stood up in the dying stages of a dramatic Wimmera Netball Association A Grade grand final on Saturday, to edge out Stawell and win back-to-back premierships.
The two sides were neck-and-neck until half time, with scores tied at 25-all.
Check out The Wimmera Mail-Times' photo gallery of the Wimmera Netball Association grand finals here:
Somewhat rattled, the Eagles made three changes at the main break.
Wing attack Stacey Holland came off with Jane Richardson replacing her on the court and moving into goal defence. Maddison Peters came out to wing defence.
The Warriors ? aware they were a chance of knocking off the warm favourites ? took wing defence Courtney Gerdtz off at half time and replaced her with Naomi Hunter.
One goal down at the final change, the Eagles swooped on their prey in an entertaining final term.
Led by co-coach Sarah Koschitzke, Warrack Eagles drew on their grand final experience, as they were playing in their fifth straight grand final.
They out-scored the Warriors, 11 goals to six.
Sarah Koschitzke, who was named best on court for a second straight season, said it was a tough match.
"I don't think there was more than two or three goals in it until the end. It was so tight," Koschitzke said.
"Maybe our experience and fitness in the end prevailed ? it's hard to tell.
"It consolidates last year and proves we're not a bad side."
For Eagles veteran Leigh-anne Bibby, 40, the win was a long time coming.
Bibby missed the Eagles' 2010 breakthrough premiership with an injury.
Saturday was a double celebration for Bibby, with daughter Chloe part of a successful 15 and under A team.
"It's the best feeling ever. Chloe won too, we had a clean-sweep in the netball. It's just great," Bibby said.
Bibby said Stawell would be a team to watch in 2012.
"They were so strong. They will be a force, I am scared already," Bibby said.
Stawell coach Jemma Clarkson said despite the disappointment, the Warriors had done the club proud.
It was the Warriors' first A Grade grand final since their 1973 premiership.
"I am really proud of the girls' efforts. They did a wonderful job, in the last five minutes we just didn't quite get there," Clarkson said.
"It was a fairly fast-paced game and I think it was a bit of a shoot-out at times with all goalies playing well.
"At the same time it was hard work through the mid-court with a lot of hands on the ball."
Clarkson said Stawell was eager to go one step further next season.
"We look at that game and say we've learned a lot about what we need to do next year to win a flag," Clarkson said.