Leeton-Whitton Crows almost pulled off a comeback in the under 17s RFL Netball grand final but came up just short against GGGM Lions.
It was always going to be a tough ask, coming up against the previously undefeated Lions side but they acquitted themselves well in positive signs for the future of the Crows netball.
The Lions were able to build a six-point lead heading into the first changes, but the Crows weren't overawed by the task in front of them, and a strong second quarter from Amelia Irvin in the shooting circle had Leeton-Whitton still within striking range, trailing 23-17 at the main break.
It was almost goal for goal in the third quarter as both Irvin and Shallan Stockton were accurate with their shots, but the margin remained at six points heading into the final change.
The Crows traded goals with the Lions in the early stages of the final term, but halfway through, they mounted a charge which saw them swing the momentum.
Another breakout quarter from Irvin, with nine goals, saw the Crows score four straight goals to see the margin sitting at just two heading into the dying stages.
Unfortunately, that was as close as they would get as the Lions were able to break away again as the Crows pushed to see GGGM come away with a 45-40 victory.
Coach Brooke Eglinton was proud of her side's performance, especially the fourth-quarter fightback.
"I was so nervous just hoping they could get out and win," she said.
"They played hard, and that is all that mattered, but unfortunately, they couldn't get there in the end.
"It was a fantastic effort on their behalf. They can be very proud of themselves."
It is an even more outstanding effort considering the young age of the side.
"We only have two 16-year-olds, the rest are 15 and 14," she said.
"To be able to perform like that in the under 17s, they have really stepped up."
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