Seymour’s McDonald a mastermind both on and off the court

By Meg Saultry

For Seymour’s Elle McDonald, bringing a Lion A-grade premiership flag home to the den for the first time since 2015 was extra special as coach.

But it was not just her off-court decision-making that inspired the Lions claim to the cup, with McDonald absolutely dominating the midcourt to take out the most valuable player award.

With her hands in more than one pudding - from whether to make positional changes to executing her own role in centre - the enormity of the role was barely a burden on McDonald's shoulders.

“I think being coach, your head is in a few different places,” McDonald said.

“You’re trying to stay in the game as much as possible, but you’re always thinking whether they’re coming back or whether we need to make changes to keep that momentum.

“But the support around me, and the fact whoever was on the court, I knew they were going to step up and do their role, really helps.”

And it was a full team effort from Seymour, with all nine players firing from the get-go - from the defensive endeavors of Sarah Szczykulski, Meg Grbac and Nikita Singe to the shooting prowess of goalers Ellie O'Sullivan and Jess Lallo.

“At the start of the game we talked about how much we all needed to play our role,” McDonald said.

“Everyone (was) to be accountable for their player and beat their opponent, then those turnovers will come and we’ll get those goals.

“That was the game plan. It was so good to be able to execute it on grand final day.”

Although a five-minute patch from Shepparton United in the third quarter flared the nerves in the Seymour camp, a Lions victory was always predestined, with McDonald and team taking a handy lead into every quarter.

With the match all but wrapped up in the fourth term, a number of late changes to the Lions' line-up meant a more memorable day for all involved.

With a re-shuffling of positions occurring when Laura Carland stepped on court, it was Lyndal O'Sullivan's inclusion - with Ellie O'Sullivan coming off through the blood rule - that got the biggest roar.

“For me as a coach, I wanted everyone to be a part of the win,” McDonald said.

“They all played a role throughout the season, it was important all nine of us did it.

“And for Lyndal O'Sullivan, who is a club legend here, to be able to step on court was extra special for her and you heard the crowd go wild.

“It was meant to be that she stood on court today.

“It’s great to get everyone out there.”