TWO decades of netball have delivered Dennington stalwart Jeanna Johnstone two premierships with two clubs.
But it’s the friends she’s made along the journey who keep her involved with a sport which has become a passion.
That, and an inability to say no. Johnstone, 39, has retired three times but finds herself accepting offers to fill in each season.
She will play her 250th match for the Dogs when they take on Kolora-Noorat in an A grade clash at Dennington today.
“I’ve met lots of nice friends over the years and had some pretty memorable netball trips. They’re a great bunch of girls,” she said.
“A lot of younger ones are coming up now, which is good, but our core group that has been there forever are still there.
“Whether they’re playing or umpiring or come up to watch, they’re still there.”
Johnstone, a mother of four, started her netball career with Dennington in 1994.
The midcourter had to wait until 2007 to win her first flag, with the Dogs’ A reserve side. She subsequently retired at the end of the season.
But a friendship with Haley Kelson led her back to the court in 2011 with South Rovers, where she won an A grade flag.
“Then last year Krystal Day got me to play a few games (with Dennington) and I ended up playing the whole season,” she said.
“This year I was going to do the same. I was originally playing A reserve but we had 10 players and I stepped down to let the younger girls play.
“Now I’m filling in where I can and I sit on the A grade bench.”
Johnstone has played five times for the Dogs this season. She’s also worn the blue and white of Hampden league club Warrnambool three times.
Her daughter Alyssa and niece Alana play juniors with Warrnambool. Another niece, Tahalia, is part of the Blues’ A2 squad.
The Dennington-versus-Kolora-Noorat match is the pick of the Warrnambool and District league round nine action.
In other matches, Merrivale faces a tough test to climb up the ladder when it travels to play Panmure.
Nirranda and Allansford clash on neutral territory at Timboon, while Deakin University will chase a third win against South Rovers at the Pond.
Russells Creek and Timboon Demons are two games behind fifth-placed Allansford and need a win in their match at Mack Oval to remain in touch.
And unbeaten Old Collegians start favourite to take the points against winless East Warrnambool at Reid Oval.