Seymour can brag about winning at least one piece of silverware after it beat arch-rival Euroa to claim the Vietnam Veterans Cup on Saturday.
For Euroa, the game was an elimination final.
The Magpies went into Saturday’s clash two points clear of Echuca. A win would have secured them sixth place and a spot in this year’s finals, but it was the Lions who spoiled the party to live out a fairytale ending to their own season.
Seymour coach Laura Carland had been refining her combinations in what’s been a season-long rebuilding campaign, but those combinations came to bear fruit on Saturday.
An opening quarter blitz saw Seymour take out an early advantage over Euroa.
Rebecca Beaton was in top form, shooting nine of the Lions’ 14 goals for the quarter, while Ellie O’Sullivan claimed five goals of her own.
Alana Mascitti showed grit and aggression in the midcourt.
The first-choice centre gave it her all to keep the pressure on Euroa and, along with Courtney Aldous, launch attacks on the rebound.
Mascitti and Aldous combined with Carland to drive the ball into Seymour’s attacking third and gave ample feed to the Lions’ goalers.
The defensive duo of Meg Grbac and Georgia Engel kept the Magpies to single figures in three of the quarters.
Euroa scored only nine times in the first quarter and had to dig deep to get itself back into the game.
The Lions fought off attack after attack but couldn’t stop 15 second-quarter goals from the Magpies.
Seymour was still as potent in attack, managing 12 goals of its own.
Emily Haysom came on to relieve Mascitti in the third quarter and provided a much-needed defensive anchor in what was a grinding quarter.
Aldous worked overtime in wing defence, along with Grbac and Engel, to slow Euroa’s attacks.
The Lions kept the Magpies to just nine goals but struggled to create opportunities of their own.
Seymour scored just six goals and by three-quarter-time it had let its lead slip and trailed the Magpies by one.
Haysom replaced Aldous in the familiar role of wing defence while Mascitti returned to the centre for the last 15 minutes of play.
The Lions began to dominate on the court.
Grbac took several crucial intercepts to turn the ball over and Seymour broke the Magpies several times to win back the lead before confidently running away with the game.
‘‘We came out fighting in that last quarter and that’s really what got us over the edge,’’ Carland said.
‘‘It just shows how far we’ve come as a team.’’
Carland commended her team’s attitude, talk and support as the defining factors that made a difference.
‘‘It’s been a journey of a year but we couldn’t have asked to finish it in a better way today,’’ Carland said.
Score: Seymour 45 d Euroa 39
Best: Courtney Aldous, Rebecca Beaton, Meg Grbac
Seymour will be disappointed after going down to Euroa by 11 goals on Saturday.
The Lions held their own, shooting 12 first-quarter goals, but were unable to slow their fast-paced and high-scoring rivals.
Mariah Baumann continued her run of good form, hitting double figures in the first quarter and shooting 27 goals for the match.
With the Lions trailing by five goals, Georgia Velt came on in the second quarter to play alongside Marlee Koopman in defence.
Velt had an immediate impact on the game but an awkward clash with an opponent forced her to call time and she was carried from the court shortly after.
A suspected serious knee injury kept Velt sidelined and she took no further part in the game.
Feeling a bit battered, the Lions trailed by eight at half-time.
Mia Feery led the team from the centre and the Lions regained a little momentum after half-time.
Feery and Andrea McKenzie were prolific in the midcourt while Lyndel O’Sullivan, who’d fed Baumann plenty of the ball already, goaled brilliantly herself with a haul of eight in the third quarter.
A stretched Lions faded in the fourth quarter and the Magpies overran them on the scoreboard, shooting 13 goals to nine.
The Lions eventually went down 55-44.
Score: Seymour 44 lt Euroa 55
Best: Mia Feery, Lyndel O’Sullivan, Andrea McKenzie
Seymour worked hard but couldn’t quite get the win against Euroa on Saturday.
The Magpies led at every change but not without Seymour breathing down their necks.
Georgia Gregson was sharp in front of goal, shooting 30 of the Lions’ 36 goals for the match.
Brodie Gunton was solid in the midcourt and gave the Lions plenty of drive into attack.
Seymour fell short by a couple of goals in each quarter except the fourth, when it had its sole win, shooting 10 goals to eight.
The Lions fell short by five goals at the final whistle.
Score: Seymour 36 lt Euroa 41
Best: Brodie Gunton, Georgia Gregson, Sophie Gregson
The Lions put on a performance for their home crowd, securing a 14-goal win over Euroa.
Seymour was unstoppable in the first quarter as Sophie Locke shot 12 of the Lions’ 16 goals.
The Lions showed no sign of slowing down as they outscored the Magpies again in the second.
Rani Curry gave the Lions plenty of drive out of the centre and Sarah Waite led by example in defence.
With their lead secure, the Lions had little to do in the second half as they rode out 14-goal winners.
Score: Seymour 43 d Euroa 29
Best: Sarah Waite, Rani Curry, Sophie Locke