At the beginning of the 2019 Bupa Victorian Netball League season, it’s likely most wouldn’t have picked Boroondara’s Division One side to land a spot in finals – especially considering their 9th place finish in 2018. Nonetheless, Express have continued to exceed expectations and now charge towards their chance of becoming the 2019 Division One premiers.
Only winning a total of three matches in 2018, Boroondara looked like a stronger side from the get-go of 2019. This resulted in four times as many match wins and fourth place secure by the time finals hit.
For the Division One captain, Emma Wallmeyer, the progression of her team over the season has solidified Boroondara as a key competitor in the VNL competition.
“Look, it’s just such a massive turnaround,” she explained. “I think this year, what’s made a difference, is we started off really, really strong as a team.
“I think I’m one of the only ones there from the Division One team last year so I’m experiencing that transition from one end of the ladder to the other. It’s great that we have turned it around, especially considering two years ago we didn’t have anyone in finals.
“It’s beyond great that over last year and this year we’ve been able to turn it around and show that, hey, we are still in this, we’re still quality players, a quality club and can still perform well in finals.”
Coming up against the 2018 Division One premiers in Semi Finals was no doubt a challenge for Boroondara, but after swooping in on Hawks, Boroondara’s newfound confidence allowed them to take it another step further to beat Geelong Cougars in the Preliminary Final. They now stand only one Grand Final win away from 2019 victory.
Wallmeyer said her players may not have the same experience as some of their counterparts, but what sets them apart is their determination and energy.
“We are honestly super, super excited. I’ve only ever played in finals once before and I know that in our team there’s a few other girls as well that have never played VNL finals before despite playing for a number of years,
“Obviously those girls who haven’t played before are going to be feeling the nerves, but I think as well it will give them that good rush of adrenaline that they can take on court and help them shine.”
Another step closer to gold, Boroondara have no more chances as they face North East Blaze in the Grand Final. Blaze finished top of their division ladder and are a known force to be reckoned with.
Still, Wallmeyer has remains confident in her team which consists of dynamic combinations and a team spirit that brings individuals together.
“Something that has been a strong point of ours all season is our ball movement, particularly down in our attack end. We have quite a few speedy players and I think that can catch other teams off guard.
“I definitely think that Abbey Ryan and Ruby Barkmeyer have been playing so well in our goaling end. Their connections are sensational. I also think that Maddy Wallmeyer, yes that does happen to be my sister, really dominates that Wing-Attack position and is fast and decisive. She can catch almost any Wing-Defence off guard.
“If we look at our combinations in defence too though, really it is just has high quality as our attack. We’ve had a few different girls play down there but I think that over the last few weeks we’ve really picked up that defensive pressure too.
“All we can do being in finals now is do our best and just hope that our motivation pulls everyone together.”
Boroondara Express will battle with North East Blaze to take gold in the Grand Final on Wednesday 14 August. They will be on court 4 at 7.00pm. The game will be live streamed to both teams’ Facebook pages.