SEVENTH HEAVEN: Brothers Crimson extend winning run
NETBALL: Tracy Upton has been there for every one of Brothers Crimson's seven senior netball titles.
For the first five, she was an integral member of the playing group.
For the past two, she has not been in the cut and thrust on-court, instead as coach she's been the tactical mastermind behind the team's ongoing success.
Crimson secured a seventh consecutive Rockhampton Leagues Club Senior Division A premiership title with a 74-63 win over Bluebirds Hawks in a fast-paced, highly entertaining grand final at CQUniversity on Sunday.
The unbeaten Crimson were the hot favourites heading into the decider but the young Hawks took the game to the defending premiers in the first half, leading 16-14 at quarter time and 36-34 at half-time.
The cool-headed Crimson made their move in the third quarter, outscoring Hawks 24-13, and bettered their rivals by two in a tight fourth to wrap up the match.
Upton said that every member of Crimson played their part in what was a satisfying victory.
"Good on the girls, it's a great reward for them,” she said.
"We didn't talk about it at all (winning seven in a row) but now it's hit home that they've done something special and they're pretty proud of that.”
As expected, Hawks' sharp-shooters Taylah Cox and Tia Konui were at their brilliant best and exerted some early pressure in a tightly contested game where there was no room for error.
Upton said the turning point came late in the second quarter when her team was trailing by five goals.
Amee Brown forced a vital turnover and from there Crimson landed four goals in a row to close the deficit to just two by half-time.
Upton's decision to move Bec Hall from the defensive end to wing attack at the start of the third was vital in boosting Crimson's centre court attack and defensive pressure.
"I know I can play Bec in any position and she will bring it,” she said.
"Amee's defensive defensive effort on court has won us many games through the season and was a big factor again.
"Tamika Upton at wing defence was really good and Ashlee Whouley at centre got a lot of turnovers.”
It was a big weekend for Brothers, which also won the Senior A Reserve and Junior A1 division titles on Saturday.
Upton said this augured well for the club moving forward, and the strength of its juniors was a real positive.
"We've got five or six girls in our ressies team who could easily make an A-grade team but it's going to be hard to crack into this Crimson side next year,” she said.
"You're always going to get a good game from your big-name players but it's what youngsters like Ashlee Whouley and Zeckeisha Oakley have delivered this season that's been very pleasing for me as a coach.
"I'm looking forward to what 2018 will bring.”
Upton applauded the Hawks for their efforts during the season.
"They were amazing. If they stick with that same group they'll be knocking on the door again next year,” she said.
GRAND FINAL SCORES
Snr A: Brothers Crimson d Bluebirds Hawks 74-60
Snr A Res1: Brothers Magenta d Angels Deities 46-28
Snr A Res2: Bluebirds Ravens d Frenchville Crocs 51-41
Snr C: Frenchville Roos d Runaways Amethyst 35-33
Snr D: Frenchville Bandicoots d Bluebirds Magpies 44-29
Jnr A2: RGS Storm d Brothers Green 52-48
Jnr B1: RGS Bullets d Brothers Pink 34-25
Snr B: Bluebirds Kestrels d Angels Spirits 45-33
Snr B Res: Angels Cherubs d Frenchville Gators 45-41
Jnr A1: Brothers White d Frenchville Geckos 37-23
Jnr B3: RGS Pacers d Runaways Obsidian 48-44
Jnr C2: RGS Redskins d Gracemere Leopards 31-24
Jnr D1: Brothers Lilac d RGS Miners 39-15
Jnr D2: Frenchville Kinkajous d RGS Giants 35-24
Jnr F2: Frenchville Pythons d Bluebirds Canaries 14-11
Jnr B2: RGS Warriors d Frenchville Meerkats 52-21
Jnr C1: RGS Suns d Brothers Lime 43-33
Jnr E1: Brothers Silver d Frenchville Pandas 28-23
Jnr E2: RGS Chargers d Brothers Violet 28-12
Jnr F1: Brothers Apricot d RGS Sliders 27-20