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Imperials win their seventh straight River Murray netball premiership
The Blues defeat Mypolonga in the 2021 RMNA decider; plus Mannum's Loechel sisters become life members in a grand final win.
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Not even a pandemic could stop Imperials’ run of premierships in the River Murray Netball Association.
A year after the netball season was cancelled due to COVID-19, the Blues have picked up where they left off with a 43-33 win against Mypolonga in the association’s 2021 grand final.
The win at Tailem Bend gave Imps their seventh straight flag.
Their unpredictable passing and their desperation in defence, lunging for every tip and deflection, proved too much for the Tigers to handle.
Cheering erupted at the final whistle and champagne was sprayed over the new courts before the trophy presentation.
Watch the last three minutes of game play, and the celebrations that followed, in the video below.
Wing attack Laura Berling was named best on court.
Captain Olivia Bolt thanked her teammates, their families and supporters, their opponents, and the association’s and club’s officials, with a special shout-out for coach Carrie Daniels.
“It was almost like a B-grade footy coaching effort at the start of this year, where on Friday nights she was ringing around, trying to get a team on the court – amazing effort,” she said.
“To deal with babies down at every training ... (and) trying to drills with someone off feeding was pretty hard work at times, so you really earnt it this year, Carrie.”
Loechel sisters earn life membership at Mannum
In A reserves, Mannum’s premiership was made all the sweeter with the presentation of life memberships to sisters Amy and Tracy Loechel, each of whom played their 300th games in the win.
It was also Amy’s last game for the club, as she will soon move out of the area.
“I’m really blessed to play a game I love, and to play with people that I love, and play against people I’ve made some great friendships with,” she said.
“We take the court and we’re all competitive, but after that we all enjoy a drink together and I think that's what netball’s all about.”
Tracy said she would miss having her wingman at the other end of the court, but was glad they had achieved all they had together.
Between them, the sisters have four association A grade best and fairest awards, 20 A grade team of the year appearances, 11 SA Country Championships appearances, four wins and nine SA Country caps.
Each was named to the RMNA team of the decade in 2011 and the Joylene Crouch memorial team of the year in 2018, and each played in the SA Premier League with Contax.
2021 grand final scores
A grade: Imperials 43 def Mannum 33
A reserves: Mannum 49 def Imperials 30
B grade: Mypolonga 52 def Tailem Bend 43
B reserves: Imperials 39 def Mypolonga 37
C grade: Ramblers 54 def Imperials 32
17 and under: Imperials 47 def Mannum 39
15 and under, division one: Mypolonga 51 def Jervois 31
15 and under, division two: Mypolonga 34 def Imperials 26
13 and under, division one: Mypolonga 41 def Imperials 32
13 and under, division two: Mypolonga 44 def Meningie 30
11 and under, division one: Tailem Bend 35 def Mypolonga 21
11 and under, division two: Meningie 31 def Jervois 13