For the past two years the Orange Netball Association Toyota Cup player-of-the-final has, incredibly, gone to players in the losing side, a rarity no matter what the sport.
In Saturday’s unbelievable, extra-time epic at Sir Neville Howse Stadium many would argue it could’ve again, in fact, the award probably could have gone to any of the 17 players that took the court.
That’s just how good both premiers Orange City Craig Harvey Mechanical and runners-up Orange Physiotherapy Vipers were.
But in the end the medal deservedly ended up around 15-year-old Orange City shooter Milly Wilcox’s neck.
She was monumental in the Lions’ attacking circle, playing every minute of the incredible decider and shooting at 73.33 per cent to boot.
Her numbers were the best of any shooter on the day outside Vipers’ Em Callaway, who nailed 75 per cent of her shots but only played in the circle for the first quarter.
In the second half and then extra time Wilcox truly shone, missing just four of her 18 shots to help her side to a 50-46 victory.
“I was pretty happy with the way I played but I wasn’t expecting it at all, I thought everyone from both sides played really, really well,” Wilcox said, after becoming overwhelmed with emotion after full-time.
Like several others in the side Wilcox admitted she thought her side had missed its chance after relinquishing an 11-goal lead, and was unsurprisingly stoked they managed to pull through.
“I’m just so overwhelmed, I’m so proud of what we’ve done. In that fourth quarter, it felt like it was done, it felt like it was Vipers’ day but then we got that turnover, got the shot and sent it to extra time,” she said.
“It’s so tough physically to get back up for extra time, but maybe more so mentally I think. It was good to have the whole side pushing through it, pushing me through it.
”I’m just so happy.”