Wimmera Netball Association powerhouse, Horsham has such a reputation that it is the team everyone else loves to beat.
But historically those opportunities have been far and few between, with the Demons consistently producing quality flagship teams.
This year the Demons have snapped close at the heels of competition leaders Warrack Eagles, winning all but two home-and-away games. The Weekly Advertiser asked coach Pauline Butler how the season had unfolded and what she expected come finals.
At what stage did you believe you had an A Grade team capable of playing finals? Butler: “At the end of our team selection process, I thought we had a pretty good side and a lot of flexibility with girls being able to play multiple positions. Without knowing what other sides had recruited like in the off season you just never know, but after the first round I was confident that we would make the final five.”
What do you consider have been the major hurdles in getting your team to the finals and how did you overcome them? What are the biggest hurdles now you are in the finals? Butler: “Probably the biggest hurdle for us with such a flexible side was finding out which combinations were required to win certain games. Obviously injury is always a concern but I am confident we have the depth to cover this.”
What does your team have to do to get into a position to play off in a grand final? Butler: “We will need to bring our A game and play out four consistent quarters. Our approach will be the same. With each team we play we will need to look at how we shut down key players and this will differ from side to side.”
Who have been your key players, leaders, mentors and so on who have helped you get to the finals? Butler: “All players have impressed me this year. Each player has stood up when required. They all have the ability to play multiple positions and they adjust well to changes very quickly. I will be looking at all my players to stand up in the finals and will expect them to play their role and work together as a team.”
From structural, physical and psychological points of view, what are the strengths you can exploit in your team and what are the weaknesses you have to overcome to be successful in the finals? Butler: “We will need to look at each opposition each week and look at how we can shut down their game plan. We will be looking at how we can exploit weaknesses and adapt to change. I am confident our team will adjust when required.”
How do you see the short and long-term future of netball at your club? Butler: “I believe our club has one of the best junior development programs going around. Our coaches all work together to ensure girls transitioning through to the next grade or who are called upon to play in a higher grade are equipped with the relevant knowledge and skills to be successful.”