IT took Sunbury 10 seconds to score the first goal of the 2013 Ballarat Football Netball League A grade netball grand final.
And for the rest of the game, the Lions simply increased their margin over North Ballarat City.
Towering shooter Sophie Gunn proved a headache for the North defence, while Sunbury defender Rebecca Moffatt was keeping North City shooter Jordyn Bibby, who wasn’t expected to play due to a serious knee injury, quiet at the other end.
Halfway through the first quarter, Sunbury was already out to a nine-goal lead, though North City staged a small comeback via the hard work of the three McCartin sisters, Stacey in centre, Louise in wing attack and Gina in goal attack.
At quarter-time, scores were 14 to 7 and North City had started to look more threatening.
However, a physical second quarter saw Gunn again dominate, with Gina McCartin keeping North City in the game with some spectacular shooting.
Bibby started visibly limping as both Moffatt’s pressure and her injury took its toll.
Sunbury goal attack Sophie O’Kane started to make her presence felt, by feeding Gunn and slotting her own shots in.
North City wing defence Tahni Nestor and goal keeper Emma Reus made some timely intercepts, but uncharacteristically poor passing between Stacey and Gina McCartin saw potential goals go begging.
With half-time scores 26 to 17, North City coach Annie McCartin swung the changes, replacing Bibby with under 18.5 and state player Kayla Mallett and goal defence Tania McKenny with Nestor.
Krystal Whitty came on as centre, freeing Stacey McCartin to move to wing attack while Emily Pellegrino shifted to wing defence.
Sunbury only made one move, replacing wing defence Lee Chicas with Lauren Gilchrist.
However, it made no difference.
Moffatt again kept Mallett quiet with Sunbury’s defensive pressure all over the court just too strong, forcing North City into poor passing and decision-making, with the scores blown out to 39 to 25 at three-quarter-time.
McCartin moved all three of her daughters into attack in the final term but the move was in vain, with Sunbury putting its foot to the floor through centre Prue Stanley and wing attack Hayley Mackie, while goal defence Rebecca Anstey – named best on court – intercepted everything in sight.
Sunbury coach Kim Bailey said post match it still hadn’t felt like an easy win.
“We had to fight hard for that victory,” Bailey said.
“We really set ourselves for this game. We knew when we had to peak. We knew we were more experienced in finals and we used that to the best of our ability.”
Bailey, who joined Sunbury this year, said the match had hopefully started a great rivalry.
“At the start of the season, I put this team together and I thought, ‘man-oh-man we can do this’.”
McCartin said she knew her team had its work cut out for it, but described her first season at North City as a fairytale.
“You’ve done a lot of hard work and you represented the North Ballarat Football Club to the best of your ability today,” she said.
“Next year we’ll be here again.”