The focus for Fusions Fire at the start of the 2017 Rawson Homes Premiership A Grade season was purely on development.
With a few older heads looking after a crew of up-and-coming talents a top four finish was set as an acceptable goal.
But now Fusions Fire stands just one win away from the 2017 title.
Fusions Fire, which only sealed fourth spot and a place in the post-season in the final round of the year, scored a shock win over Fusions Johnies in Saturday’s preliminary final.
The result means Fire will take on the undefeated Fusions Heat in the grand final on Saturday.
“We’ve exceeded our expectations,” Fusions Fire’s Karen Weekes said.
“The focus was on developing some of the younger players so for us to push and beat a team with so many representative and former representative players, we were thrilled. Particularly for the young girls who have worked so hard.
“The goal was to make finals and to come away with two close wins (in the finals) is testament to our girls’ spirit.
“We’ve not just made up the numbers, we’ve been very, very competitive.”
While the final result may have come as a surprise to many, those who saw Fusions Fire’s performance on Saturday were not shocked.
Fire led almost the entire game, and while the Fusions Johnies side which finished the regular season in second got things back to all square they couldn’t get the better of the youthful enthusiasm.
“I don’t think we were ever behind in the match,” Weekes said.
“We were level after three quarters but the girls dug deep and we put on some fresh legs at wing defence and goalkeeper … all the players just really wanted it.”
Weekes hailed the performance of Monique May is the preliminary final, the youngster putting in a stellar showing at goal defence. Tara Williamson and Maddie Croft were also singled out for praise after the five-point win.
“We’re into the grand final and we want to win,” Weekes added.
If Fusions Fire is to win, it will have to do something no side has been able to do.
Fusions Heat will start as hot favourites having been utterly dominant in its run to the biggest day of the season.
Weekes is also Dubbo Netball Association president and added she was thrilled there would be so much variety on grand final day.
“Trangie is a brand new club and all its four sides are in grand finals so that’s amazing and it’s great to see the big, traditional clubs like Saints just as well represented as the new clubs,” Weekes said.