Growth out of finals taste

September 11, 2017

Looking to next year: Shepparton Swans playing coach Jana Bruinier had an impressive first half against Shepparton yesterday, but her side was unable to hold on.

There might not be a next week for Shepparton Swans, but coach Jana Bruinier is not angry about that.

Approaching the season with aims of playing in September, the Swans have gone beyond ticking off that box.

While a spot in the finals was far from certain after the team lost to Shepparton in round 17, Bruinier’s side worked its way to a fifth place finish.

Travelling to take on Benalla last week, the Swans held on by two goals, but could not quite repeat that performance against the more talented Bears yesterday.

But Bruinier said her side had learned plenty of lessons from stepping onto the court for two A-grade GVL finals.

‘‘We’re not disappointed with where we ended up this season, our goal was finals and we met that and we exceeded that, we won one final,’’ she said.

‘‘I think our best meets their (Shepparton) best, which showed in the first quarter, I just think after a big game last week we couldn’t sustain that level of play and some inconsistencies came in.

‘‘But we’ve got a really young group and they say you can’t buy finals experience, so certainly we’ll learn and grow from that.’’

Just Bruinier, Nat Simpson and Shinea Sali had played an A-grade final before this year’s action.

While those three led from the front, rising talent Kate Jeffery was integral through the middle as Tiarna Steel and Kristy Down again tried their hardest against a tough attacking unit.

Having experienced the thrill of playing in September, the side is already keen to prepare for next year’s tilt.

‘‘One of the girls asked me what off-season training are we doing, so we’ll be back next year and next year we’ll try and go a few better again,’’ Bruinier said.

But with a young side comes the possibility of players moving away from the region, with Bruinier hopeful a few talents would continue.

The experienced coach is also aiming to bring a few familiar faces back to Princess Park.

‘‘It’ll be interesting, we’re in a bit of a transition phase, there are a few going to uni, but we’ll keep most of our side and hopefully one or two will be coming back,’’ she said.

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