GVL | Shepparton United star Jessie Barnes set for 150th game

Big milestone: Jessie Barnes will bring up game 150 for Shepparton United against Shepparton Swans this weekend. Photo by Megan Fisher

When it comes to Goulburn Valley League netballers, it’s a struggle to find any more determined than Shepparton United goaler Jessie Barnes.

The winner of the past two Wellman Medals, Barnes has been an unstoppable force in attack for the Demons over recent seasons and a huge part of what makes them a perennial A-grade contender.

Boasting a resume filled with incredible highlights, Barnes will tick off another accolade this weekend, as she takes the court for her 150th game in Shepparton United’s clash with cross-town rival Shepparton Swans.

Barnes said she was honoured to be able reach this milestone with the Demons.

“It feels really good, and I am very excited for it,” Barnes said.

“It has been a very long time coming, but being able to share the court with some ripper girls and have them be a part of the day will be special.

“Shepparton United has been a really important of mine and my family’s life, I have met some really good humans over my time at the club and I know I have made some friends for life.”

Widely regarded as the premier player in the region, Barnes’ dominant play has seen her catch the attention of umpires, media, fans and opposition teams.

She said being acknowledged as the league’s best and fairest was the result of much more than just her ability to put the ball in the ring.

“Winning those Wellman medals is a pretty nice cherry on top of the cake for me, but you don’t win those accolades by yourself — it takes the whole team to be able to do that,” she said.

“For me it is just that validation for the training, the time and the effort you put in; I don’t do anything by halves, so if I’m gonna play netball I’m going to give it my all and put in the hard yards.”

But in a career filled with incredible highlights, one thing that has eluded Barnes is premiership glory with her beloved Demons.

She said that was the thing that drove her to continue working hard.

“Winning that elusive GVL premiership is certainly what drives me at the moment, myself and Blizz (Kara Blizzard) are the older heads in the team and we are just egging each other on,” she said.

“The goal for me is to step in the court on that final day in September; I know it will be a tough road to get there, but for me grand final glory is that light at the end of the tunnel.”

This year presents as a fantastic opportunity for her to tick off that final piece of the puzzle, as Shepparton United currently sits third on the GVL A-grade ladder with an 8-2 record.

Barnes said she was looking forward to what was setting up to be a thrilling end to the season.

“We have been able to maintain that core group of girls while adding a few along the way,” she said.

“I still don’t feel we’ve played our best netball yet, that is certainly to come, which is exciting, but there is some tough competition out there.

“There are so many great players in our league now and the league is in a great place, but I feel with this group we have a fantastic opportunity this year.”

Shepparton United will be looking to celebrate Barnes’ milestone in style as it welcomes Swans to Deakin Reserve in a pivotal clash.

The match will begin at 2.15pm on Saturday.