Relief, jubilation as Goodna team seizes third grand final
LED by their jubilant coach Darren "Scooby'' Eustace, the Goodna Sapphires team had every right to celebrate.
"We were all happy to come away with the win. Probably the most excited was our coach Scooby,'' said tireless Sapphires skipper Robyn Walsh.
"The girls and myself were relieved that we had won, especially after ending the season undefeated.''
Walsh had led her team in each of its Queensland Premier League (QPL) SEQ Cup grand final victories in 2017, 2018 and last Friday night at the Queensland State Netball Centre.
The latest win was one of the toughest with the Sapphires only getting up 40-37 over Downey Park.
"It's a great feeling, and when you read three out of four grand final, wins it's pretty good going,'' Walsh said.
"We are so lucky to have such a great team and be so successful.
"It's a credit to the girls. Week in and week out, they show up and an perform and are rewarded at the end of the season.''
Only two to four points separated the teams in the grand final."We had a run on but were not able to pull away,'' Walsh said.
"Downey Park were in front by two points at one stage but we pulled it back.
"It was really only the last quarter, in the last five minutes or so, that we were able to hold onto the lead.
"It was a tough final.''
Goodna's first grand final triumph remains memorable for Walsh.
"The most satisfying win was when we played Caboolture in the grand final in 2017,'' she said.
"They had a really big crowd and at one stage we were 10 points down and came back and won by seven points.
"That was a huge turnaround and such a great feeling.''
As for why the Sapphires continue to set the QPL benchmark, Walsh offered a dependable captain's answer.
"We have such a love for the game and a competitive streak in all of us,'' she said.
"We have a common goal and that is to win. In addition to this, we are all really good friends. Combine this together and it is a recipe for success.''
As for coach Scooby, Walsh said he was very proud.
"He knew that we deserved the win and were more than capable of getting the win,'' she said.
"He downplays his role in the success of the team and always lets us girls know how proud he is of us.''
The Goodna captain also thanked manager Lauren Laveo for her efforts.
"Lauren has to travel over two hours to manage our team on a Thursday night," Walsh said.
"Her commitment to getting us on the court is second to none and we will be forever grateful.''
Karen "Toppy'' Topp was another much appreciated team member.
"She has the pleasure of working with the defence end and her invaluable knowledge of the game is a huge bonus to us,'' Walsh said.
"Scooby, Lauren and Toppy make a great team and us girls truly benefit from their combined knowledge and experience.
"This allows us girls to get out there and do what we do best.''
Walsh said having a successful QPL team would inspire young girls to keep at their netball and move through the pathways to higher levels.
With no Goodna players announcing their retirements, Walsh also hoped to play on. "I was fine,'' she said.
"I have worked on my fitness this year so it was pleasing to feel good the following day. At this stage I hope to go around again next.''