For the first time in “more than 10 years”, Swifts will be playing finals in the Horsham District Netball League’s A Grade competition.
The Baggies took on Kalkee in the second last round of the season, sitting just one game clear inside the top six in the lead-up to the match.
Kalkee had winning form over Swifts, easily beating the Stawell-based side by 20 goals when they met earlier in the season.
The Baggies were also without defender Erin Freeland on Saturday, who is still yet to return from a broken finger.
Things did not look promising early on, with the visitors taking a four-goal lead at the first break.
It was in the second term that the Baggies put their foot down and made a statement however, winning the quarter 14-8 to move ahead by two goals.
They extended the margin to seven by three-quarter-time and despite losing the final term the lead was enough to hold on for a 48-43 win.
“It was very emotional after the game, especially since we lost by so much last time to them,” Swifts A Grade coach Courtney Morrow said.
“Everyone was just really excited. I think it is still sinking in to be honest.”
The win puts Swifts on 48 points, an unassailable eight points clear of Kalkee who is now one game outside of the top six with one round remaining.
Read more: Baggies competitive in loss to Kees
The final placings of the top six are still far from set but Swifts will definitely be playing finals in two weeks time.
Morrow, who coached the A Grade team in its return season following an absence in the top tier competition in 2016, said it is a special feeling to see her team come so far.
“It means so much that I have been able to a part of a team that goes from winning five games to making finals,” she said.
Swifts netball director Naomi Hoffman said she believes it has been more than 15 years since Swifts played in an A Grade final.
“We believe the last time we were there was in 2002. It has definitely been at least more than 10 years,” she said.
“It was an emotional day for me. When I took charge as netball director three years ago we had no A Grade so to be playing finals this year is so special.”
It was very emotional after the game...Courtney Morrow
Hoffman said the success of the A Grade side has created a stronger culture at the club that has been reflected in its other teams.
“We have been very competitive and will be pushing for finals in some senior grades while two of our three junior sides will also be playing finals,” she said.
“The higher quality at the top level has had a flow on effect throughout the rest of the grades.”
There is the possibility Swifts could have four teams in this year’s finals, with the A Grade, 17 and under and 15 and under teams already guaranteed a spot.