Pubished on 12 September 2022

By David Nagel

Two magnificent teams…but only one premiership cup!

It’s simple mathematics – but is the harsh reality – when Bunyip and Inverloch-Kongwak collide in what promises to be a grand final for the ages at the glorious amphitheatre of the Garfield Recreation Reserve on Saturday.

Netball played at an elite level, in front of a huge, colourful and enthusiastic crowd – it simply doesn’t get any better than this!

And the beauty of this season-decider – it’s so hard to choose a winner.

Either team would be a worthy premier and do justice to the title on offer.

Both teams have been simply magnificent this season, with Bunyip losing just two games during the home-and-away rounds, to Inverloch (38-44) and Phillip Island (35-43), while the Sea Eagles only lowered their colours to Tooradin-Dalmore (43-47) during the regular season.

But it’s what transpired in the second semi-final at Inverloch that gives this one that extra edge.

Bunyip prevailed, 39-37, in an absolutely awesome display of community netball, played in brilliant sunshine, on the Sea Eagles home deck.

There was nothing in it from the outset, with neither team winning a quarter by more than one goal.

And forget being a non-contact sport, because it was physical and red-hot competitive from the first whistle blown.

In the aftermath of that loss, Sea Eagles’ coach Jarrad Walker identified that his Sea Eagles were slow to adapt to the physical intensity of Bunyip.

The Bulldogs’ pressure caused the Sea Eagles to cough up ball that they haven’t done all season.

“The umpires are the ones who set the standard early, in regards to the way the game is officiated, and we didn’t adapt the way we should have,” Walker said, after receiving the Coach of the Year Award at the league presentation night on Monday.

“That’s where we can improve and it’s something we’ll be ready for this time around.”

The Sea Eagles showed their extreme fitness and class against Tooradin-Dalmore in the preliminary final last week, expanding a one-goal lead at three-quarter time into an impressive 40-29 victory.

That last quarter not only demonstrated class, but it gave an insight into their inner strength and belief and just how much it means to Walker and his team this season.

They were seriously challenged…but rose gloriously to the occasion.

Tooradin bowed out, but full credit must go to Alex Maher, Alex Duff, Ebony Dolan, Chloe Crouch, Ebony Mason, Jess Maher, Sara Howie, Stacey Sawyer and Zoe Coventry for a magnificent effort over the first three quarters of netball.

Tooradin-Dalmore is the reigning premier, the benchmark being aspired to during Covid, and defended its crown with typical vigour.

Well done Seagulls on a fantastic season.

But the stage has now been cleared for an epic, with the two best teams of 2022 fighting tooth-and-nail for the ultimate prize in sport.

There’s an A Grade premiership up for grabs, and – for competitors like this – it means everything!

It would mean everything to Bunyip stars like Ally Johnson, Chloe Papley, Ebony Mumford, Jasmin Mackie, Kyra Esler, Olivia Hunt and Sam Walker to hoist this year’s premiership cup.

It would mean everything to Renee Pilkington, Lanni Pryor, Kelsey Buxton, Kelly Boyd, Ella Sadler, Rahni Mann, Tayla Robb and defender Tayla Smith if they were to join Inverloch-Kongwak folklore and enjoy the sweet spoils of victory.

It’s means everything.

But there’s two magnificent teams…and only premiership cup, meaning joy and heartache are equally visible on the horizon.

It’s going to extra time – with the Sea Eagles to win by two!


2017       Dalyston

2018       Dalyston

2019       Tooradin-Dalmore




Preliminary Final

Saturday, 3 September

Dalyston Recreation Reserve

A Grade: Inverloch-Kongwak 40 v Tooradin-Dalmore 29

B Grade: Bunyip 40 v Nar Nar Goon 47

C Grade: Bunyip 49 v Cora Lynn 19

D Grade: Inverloch-Kongwak 35 v Nar Nar Goon 30

17 Under: Korumburra-Bena 21 v Phillip Island 38

15 Under: Inverloch-Kongwak 15 v Korumburra-Bena 24

13 Under: Phillip Island 20 v Cora Lynn 11

11 Under: Inverloch-Kongwak 30 v Tooradin-Dalmore 18


Grand Finals

Saturday, 10 September

Garfield Recreation Reserve

A Grade: Bunyip (2) v Inverloch-Kongwak (1)                       2.45pm

B Grade: Tooradin-Dalmore (1) v Nar Nar Goon (4)            1.30pm

C Grade: Inverloch-Kongwak (2) v Bunyip (1)                        12.30pm

D Grade: Bunyip (2) v Inverloch-Kongwak (1)                       11.30am

17 Under: Dalyston (1) v Phillip Island (3)                               10.30am

15 Under: Phillip Island (2) v Korumburra-Bena (3)            9.40am

13 Under: Nar Nar Goon (2) v Phillip Island (1)                     8.50am

11 Under: Nar Nar Goon (1) v Inverloch-Kongwak (2)       8.00am