THE list of Dennington netballers not playing in the A grade grand final is almost as long as the list taking the court.
Such has been the repeated setbacks the Dogs have overcome, they will take a vastly different side into the decider to the one that started the campaign.
Dennington has seemingly come from nowhere to qualify for today’s A grade decider against Merrivale at Reid Oval.
The Josie Bolden-coached side has been thereabouts for most of the season, but moved into premiership contention with a stunning late surge.
The rise has coincided with the Dogs having a settled playing list.
They were still drafting in new players halfway through the campaign to cover the loss of four pre-season starters.
Kristie Bolden suffered a knee injury before the first pass and Sara Morrison injured an Achilles tendon barely three rounds in — two defenders gone.
Monique Lewis fell pregnant and Victoria Lumsden shifted overseas.
Midcourter Melissa Lewis has been one of the constants.
She can see the funny side of a frustrating campaign now her teammates have defied constant list changes to make the grand final.
“We were introducing players to each other up until round 12,” she said.
“It was a bit of a joke between us in the end — ‘hi, I’m such and such’.
“Because of injuries we struggled to get a team and we had some A reserve players who were happy playing A reserve.
“We had to source from outside of the club. We used everyone’s sisters, asked ‘who else do you know that plays netball’.
“We tried to get whoever we could.”
Dennington is yet to win a Warrnambool and District league A grade netball flag but has its best chance in four years to create club history.
The Dogs lost to Merrivale by four goals in 2008 and are desperate to ensure history does not repeat itself.
“We’re pretty strong in both our defence and our attack ends. As soon as we’re feeling comfortable we’ll be right,” Lewis said.
“We’re a pretty casual team. We like to go out there and have fun.
“Everyone has brought skills in some way and it’s flowed down the court.
“If we can string it all together tomorrow we’ll end up with a result.”
Lewis said Dennington was desperate to win for veteran coach Josie Bolden and 250-game player Lani Barling, who had remained loyal to the club.
“We’d love to finish it off with an A grade flag,” she said.
Melissa Lewis: “We like to go out there and have fun.”