WHEREVER Carly Peake goes, premierships follow.
The Merrivale mentor added another piece of silverware to the coffers on Saturday, leading her side to an upset grand final triumph over Nirranda.
Peake, who has premierships at Koroit and Big V basketball outfit Warrnambool Mermaids, described the one-goal victory as "surreal".
Merrivale edged towards the trophy in a frantic final minute of the match, draining a goal to slide in front with seconds on the clock.
At the final siren, party time set in.
Peake, née Pulling, paid tribute to family influences for their role in her growth as a player and coach.
"It's pretty special. For a lot of people, premierships don't come around very often," Peake said.
"I'm just so lucky with the people that I've grown up with and my family because I have a good sporting background.
I'm just so lucky with the people that I've grown up with and my family because I have a good sporting background.Carly Peake
"Being able to play senior sport with older girls who are so experienced and have so much knowledge (helps).
"Credit to all of those people who have taught me all I know because I brought a lot of that knowledge to Merrivale.
"We can't wait to implement that even more over the next few years."
Peake said her charges executed the game plan to perfection.
The Tigers burst out of the blocks, leading by three goals at the first break, until Nirranda clawed back ascendancy in the second term.
Though Peake's side wouldn't accept defeat, and entered the final term trailing by just two.
The midcourter revealed her side planned to keep the ball low to counter Nirranda's height advantage.\
"We knew we had to keep it steady, and a low ball," she said.
"We couldn't go high as we knew their defenders are good in the air. We went away from that a little bit and that's when they hit the front and got a lot of intercepts.
"When we kept it low, we looked after it, made good decisions and just looked after the ball we were fine.
"That's all we had to do - possession netball and look after the ball."
While Peake has signed for next season, she also expected strong player retention.
"I'm ready to go again," she laughed.
"I'm pretty confident each of those girls will be sticking around again.
"We haven't had any serious conversations but I've heard a few girls talk about it and they're already raring to go again."
Goal attack Millie Mahony, who crossed to Merrivale to play alongside her best friend Cloe Pulling, had faith the Tigers would ruffle feathers after her first session at the club.
"I knew as soon as I went to pre-season, and just looking at the team we had on paper, that we'd be a good, strong, competitive team," she said.
"I didn't know we'd be here as premiers but I knew we'd be a good side.
"I'm lost for words, it's surreal. To play with my best friend Cloe and to win a premiership with her is amazing."
Mahony felt the Tigers built steady momentum leading into finals.
"Our last few weeks, we've probably been playing our best netball that we've played all season, which is good because we've peaked at the right end," she told The Standard.
"I think we went in thinking we had nothing to lose and (Nirranda) probably had everything to lose.
"I was pretty calm actually, which was surprising."
The former Koroit attacker predicted long celebrations on the back of the upset victory.
Merrivale finished second overall in the regular season, while Nirranda were 10 points clear in first.
"We will celebrate, and probably go home Tuesday," she laughed.
"We'll go back to the clubrooms with the rest of the club."
Nirranda mentor Steph Townsend lauded Merrivale's quality on the ball.
"I think Merrivale was better than us on the day and you can't take that away from them," she said.
"They probably came out with the hunger we came out with in last year's grand final and we just had no answers.
"I think we struggled to get into third and fourth gear. I think it was very well deserved and Carly has done a fantastic job with them.
"As much as I'm disappointed, I'm happy for (Merrivale) at the same time."
Townsend, a fourth-year coach at the Blues, revealed she'd signed on for next season.
"I'm loving the club. It's a good place to be," she said.
"I think we have some unfinished business now. I'm not taking anything away from our girls - we had a fantastic season.
"They've done everything I've asked of them but we couldn't put it all together (on Saturday)."
Have you signed up to The Standard's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in the south-west.