Rupertswood named premiers

Rupertswood's top flight netball side has been named premiers for 2021. (Supplied)

By Oliver Lees

Rupertswood’s top flight netball side has been awarded the Essendon District Netball League premiership after the finals series was scrapped due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The Sharks finished the shortened 2021 winter season with an impressive record of 10 wins and five draws, equal on points with Aberfeldie’s top side.

But Rupertswood’s favourable percentage (314.5) was enough to edge Abers (274.5) in the unconventional season finish.

Sharks coach Michael Saker said it was a shame that the season couldn’t run its course.

“It’s pretty much mixed emotions. We’re glad to be rewarded, but we really would have liked to have played off properly for it, and earned the right via a grand final,” Saker said.

“The girls have come together quite well, since the beginning of the season just got better and better regardless of opponent.

“We set goals quarter by quarter. It’s not just in the backline, but from goal shooter to defence everyone is accountable. Whether it’s in zone, press, one-on-one or whatever, everyone in the team holds themselves to a really high standard.

“They’re an easy team to coach. I give instruction and they go straight back out on the court and act on it.”

In round nine, Rupo fought out a draw against Aberfeldie.

Rupo lined up with only six of seven players for the top of the table clash as several key players were unavailable for the match that finished deadlocked at 25 points apiece.

The Sharks’ other four drawn contests came via cancellation, as the league had no choice but to suspend play due to public health protocol.

“It was a really good game,” Saker said.

“It would have been good to have a proper chance when we were at full strength.”

Saker said he had no hesitation in signing on as coach for 2022 and was confident the core of the team would be returning next year.

“I’ve had no issue whatsoever. I’ve enjoyed my time at the club, everyone there is really good to us.

“It’s still too early to tell. We’ll have a trial when restrictions allow. I’m not aware that anyone [from the playing group] is moving on, but no one has specifically indicated they’re not coming back.”

It was a strong result for Rupo’s second side in A-grade also, finishing in sixth place with six win and five losses.

“The girls in the twos finished off really well at the end of the season,” Saker said.

“They played against Strathmore and only got pipped by a goal. For them to come up and against one of the top three sides in the competition was a massive effort on their behalf.”

Saker said the team is looking forward to starting preseason in December and could welcome a third team if the club attracts enough interest.