A LAST-MINUTE hypnotherapy session was Koroit coach Stacey O'Sullivan's subtle mind trick to get her side set for its quest for a hat-trick of Hampden league open netball premierships.
The Saints were too strong for minor premier Cobden, leading at every break and tearing the game away from the Bombers' clutches in the second half to run away 42-34 victors.
"We did a bit of hypnotherapy, which we did a few years ago, and I thought it would be a good way to get them into the right mindset and it definitely worked," O'Sullivan said of her side's unusual preparation.
"You have to be in the right head-space to believe in yourself and we were."
The first-year mentor, who took over from premiership coaches Jess O'Connor and Carly Peake, said she reinforced one simple message into her side this season.
"We always knew we could do it (win the premiership)," O'Sullivan said.
"It was just about fine-tuning a few things and they did that and they believed in themselves."
O'Sullivan had her own Bob Murphy-Luke Beveridge moment following the emphatic victory.
She passed her winning coach's medal to injured goalie Rachel Dobson, who missed the remainder of the season after rupturing her achilles against Terang Mortlake in round nine.
"'Rachy' is part of that side and was always part of that side," she said of the hurt 2018 premiership player.
"I have won my medal and I didn't take to the court at all and Rachel was part of that side so she deserved that medal. The girls played for her just as much as they did for themselves."
An overwhelmed O'Sullivan knew exactly what her side needed to do if it was to secure the club's first three-peat since 2010-12.
"I'm in a little bit of disbelief at the moment to be honest," she told The Standard.
"There was excitement and now it is just reflection. The girls played our game and we knew we could do it and I know what it is like to be top dog and come out and win. We had nothing to lose."
Captain Emily-Rose Finnigan, defender Kasey Owen and star goalie Nell Mitchell, who was named best on court after shooting half of her side's score, were the only players in the side to feature in all three flags.
Defender Emily Batt and attacker Bridget Roache were in the 2017 premiership side but missed last season after having children.
Youngsters Zahli Adams and Belle Baker, who finished second in the league's open netball best and fairest, played in their first senior premiership, which made up for falling short earlier in the day in the 17 and under decider.
Cobden finished on top of the ladder at season's end for the second straight year before ultimately falling at the final hurdle again against Koroit.
Coach Mel Starr conceded her side was beaten by a Saints' outfit which saved its best for the final game.
"Koroit did nothing wrong," she said. "They had an absolutely brilliant game, the best game I think they have played all season.
"They came good at the right end of the season so all credit to them."
Starr praised the way her defenders battled against one of the best shooters in the competition but rued another area of her side's game.
"Our defenders worked incredibly hard all day, Nell is their target and she was best on court and had a great game," she said.
"Our defenders worked incredibly hard to shut them down and we just couldn't convert on the opportunities they gave us.
"Koroit have been doing this for a very, very long time and for these girls it is their second year together so we will continue to build and continue to get there.
"They have some really fantastic players and experienced heads out there, like Kasey Owen, and she had a brilliant game in defence. It's those experienced players that I think really lifted Koroit."
The HFNL interleague coach said her side never gave up hope of securing the club's first flag in the top grade despite trailing at the final break.
"At three-quarter-time we were still definitely in it because it was only two or three turnovers," she said.
"But I think the girls were a little bit frazzled by then so we just had to try and be calm and play it out."
Starr, who confirmed she would lead the side again next season, praised the efforts of a number of her stars.
"Jessica Wheadon had a really good game and got some critical ball and was injured in the second quarter and played it out really well," she said.
"Amy Hammond played her guts out and we thought Nadine McNamara had a really great game as well against Nell."
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