EMILY Batt’s toughness can never be questioned.
The Koroit defender has overcome a fractured elbow this season as she chases her sixth Hampden league A grade premiership when the Saints take on North Warrnambool Eagles in Saturday’s grand final.
She never shies from a challenge, pitted against the competition’s best goal shooters each week.
But the 29-year-old has revealed one task is in the too-hard basket — convincing her older sister Stacey O’Sullivan to play on next season.
“I’m staying out of that,” she said.
With Stacey planning to retire after Saturday’s match, Emily will not only lose her sister from the court but her defensive sidekick, with the pair playing at goal keeper and goal defence.
In a double sister-act, the Batts will be opposed to the Blackburns — Laura and Annie — in a goal circle family feud on Saturday.
Emily enjoys playing alongside Stacey, even though they have their moments.
“She is a bit harder on me than the other girls,” Emily said.
“When we play together we don’t speak. We just push each other to where we need to go. It’s like the Blackburn sisters, you just know where the other one needs to go.”
In fact that instinctive feeling stretches beyond Koroit’s defence.
“The two Kates (Foster and Dobson), Stacey and I … I’ve played really with all the girls since I was 17,” Emily said.
“We’ve played with each other for years and we just know, we have that understanding on the court.”
For a side aiming to equal the league’s record of four consecutive A grade flags, Batt said the Saints had added motivation this weekend.
“We want to do it and bring home the premiership but, being Stacey’s last game, it gives us more reason to want to win,” she said.
“Stacey has had such an impact on Koroit netball.”
Batt is delighted to be back on court in her seventh Hampden league grand final appearance.
While she was always confident of making it back after she fractured the radial head in her left elbow in round 10, she was worried about being match-hardened.
The injury, which happened when she fell and landed on her left side after being knocked into the goal post, was expected to have kept her sidelined for up to 12 weeks.
She returned after nine with the bone fused but the recovery wouldn’t have been completed until 12 weeks.
Saturday is 12 weeks from the day it happened.
“I always thought I would (get back) but I was worried there wouldn’t be enough games left,” Batt said.
“I only played 12 quarters since coming back. I would have liked to have had more match practice.”
But she is refreshed and relaxed ahead of the season decider.
“Defence is my natural game,” she said.
“I’ve always had to play shooter because defenders’ spots were full. I was always the player who was shifted around in defence or attack.
“Last year I said I wanted to play defence.
“It’s been good to settle into defence.”