You’d have struggled to find anyone more exhausted than Orange City Craig Harvey Mechanical centre Tegan Dray following Saturday afternoon’s Orange Netball Association Toyota Cup grand final.
Her side claimed a remarkable 50-46, extra-time win over Orange Physiotherapy Vipers and Dray, in the most crucial position on the court, played every single minute of the absolute epic.
She didn’t just play, she dominated, pulling the strings superbly as her Lions stifled Vipers’ huge comeback to claim the club’s 11th consecutive title, and her ninth.
“I missed a couple through the run, but that’s my ninth” Dray smiled as she tried to let the moment sink in just after the win.
“Every grand final win is so special in so many different ways I don't think I could rank this one up against any of the others, and I think people forget that we’ve had so many tightly-contested ones over the years so even if I wanted to it’d be tough.
“Grand final day is always one of the best days of the year and it was again [on Saturday].
“We went into this one with a bit of hope, some optimism, and knowing we could pull through and do it even if the chips were down, and they certainly were at one stage.”
Dray did admit she could feel the clash slipping away from her side, which let an 11-goal lead slip in the second half before pulling through.
She imposed herself on the decider as that feeling came in though, producing several crucial intercepts in the fourth quarter and then in extra time too.
“That’s grand finals for you, it’s pressure netball. Yes, it was 11 goals we gave up but in a grand final that really is nothing because anything can happen, as they say. You know, we’ve won grand finals when we’ve been down by a similar amount,” she said.
“Respect to every single player and team we’ve played against this year and then Vipers [on Saturday, they pushed and pushed and pushed and until the final whistle goes you just never know which way it’s going to fall.
“Vipers had such an amazing season and have been the benchmark, it was such a tough game and I’m really hoping they’re very proud of themselves too because they should absolutely hold their heads high after that.”