FOR the second year in a row, Ballarat Football Netball League fell at the final hurdle in its quest to be crowned state netball champions.
And for the second year in a row, it was Alberton Football Netball League that triumphed in the grand final of the Netball Victoria State League Champions Challenge, beating Ballarat 46-36 on Sunday.
Earlier in the day, Ballarat advanced through to the grand final with big wins over Bendigo and Hampden in the round robin competition, following an opening loss to Alberton.
However, when it came down to the final, they were simply unable to stop the towering opposition attackers.
“They (Alberton) are very strong, they were very strong last year as well,” Ballarat coach Kate McMahon said.
“They had two 6-foot attackers and we gave away a lot of height. They got a lot of crucial rebounds at important times and I think it proved the difference in the end.”
The result means Ballarat will have to wait yet another year for a crack at the title.
“We were right there at the end and gave ourselves the opportunity,” McMahon said.
“There are a lot of positives to take out of the day but obviously once you reach the grand final, you really want to win it so it’s disappointing.
“All the girls are better from the experience and we will learn from it.”
Unlike other leagues, Ballarat chose not to play any Victorian Netball League players, instead opting on developing from within the league itself.
“It was our choice as a league and long-term I think it is only going to benefit us,” McMahon said.
“The idea of the competition is to look at building the standard below the VNL, so we stuck with that.”
The competition marks the end of representative netball for the BFNL for the year.