Elliott crowned as Maclean win in heart-stopper
NETBALL: Maclean Bottom Pub have been crowned back-to-back Lower Clarence Netball Association champions, but they had to fight tooth and nail to clinch it.
In a heart-stopping grand final at the Wherrett Park courts, Bottom Pub held on in the final stages to secure a 31-30 win over Breakers Big Red.
In a rare twist of fate, it was the exact scoreline that helped Maclean secure victory over the Breakers the previous year.
It was the Breakers ability to hold their own under pressure which proved the difference with the side refusing to give up a centre late in the game.
It was the big game experience of Steph Elliott at the back that stamped their title credentials, with the goal defence picking up player of the grand final.
It was her second of the awards this season, after she also was named player of the grand final for the South Grafton Rebels in their Group 2 league tag title success.
"This effort just tops off what has been a special year in sport for me,” she said. "There is not too many people who can say they were minor and major premiers in two sports in the same season.”
Elliott said she was relieved when the final whistle blew at the end of the grand final, with the two class outfits playing out a slogging affair in harsh and heated conditions.
"It was pretty close the whole way, I don't think any of us were paying attention to the scoreline, we knew we just had to grind it out,” she said.
"Scoring was pretty hard to come by at the end, it was more about who could maintain possession the longest and put the other side under pressure. It was a really grinding game.”
Maclean went in to the game full of confidence having beaten their rivals by seven points in the major semi-final, but it was obvious from the opening minutes they weren't going to get it as easy in the final.
"Credit to the Breakers girls, they obviously readjusted well from that semi-final and they came out hard,” Elliott said.
Elliott also praised her side's young stars Raeyah Kapeen and Alyssa Luland who shared duties in the wing defence position after the side lost the experience of Casey Mitchell heading into finals.
"It was amazing for us to have that spanner thrown into the works late in the season and to still come away with the premiership,” she said.
"All the girls really stepped up, it had to be a team performance and that's what we put in on the day.”
Div 1: Maclean Bottom Pub 31 def Breakers Big Red 30
Div 1A: Iluka Warriors 36 def Breakers Washouts 26
Div 2: Breakers Bluebirds 37 def Iluka Red Devils 14
Div 3: Breakers Beach Babes 20 def Dream Breakers 19
Div 4: Breakers Barrels 16 def Maclean Shooting Stars 8