Cobden may be forced to try and win its first Hampden league open netball premiership without its fearless leader.
The Bombers will meet reigning premier South Warrnambool in next weekend's grand final following a dominant 56-26 preliminary final performance against Koroit on Saturday.
But a leg injury to playing coach Sophie Hinkley in the final quarter - with the game all but won - soured the victory, with the attacker hopping from the court in pain.
Bombers defender Nadine McNamara said the team was bracing itself to be without Hinkley next week.
"Sophie felt her calf muscle pop so we're assuming it's a calf tear and she won't be available next week," McNamara told The Standard.
Hinkley, who sat out the 2022 season due to pregnancy, returned to the court this year and provided a dynamic presence through the midcourt and goal circle.
While the Bombers will rally around their coach, McNamara has no doubt the team - and Hinkley herself - would aim to put the club in the best position to prevail in the grand final.
"We feel for Soph, she puts in so much work on-and-off the court and takes her strength and conditioning seriously," McNamara said. "It's really devastating for her personally to sustain such a injury at the last hurdle of qualifying for the grand final.
"We'll rally around her and support her.
"In saying that, she spoke to us in the change rooms and our focus needs to be moving forward - we've had nine amazing players all season and we've got a div one team also playing in a grand final with 10 players there, so we've got lots of options and depth that we can turn to and we're confident in."
Following a rough 24-goal second semi-final loss to the Roosters last week, the Bombers came out firing against the Saints despite an early breeze making life tricky for both teams' shooters.
The Bombers raced away to a 18-5 first-quarter lead, their fast-paced and efficient attack executing while quality defensive plays from Remeny McCann and Sarah Moroney, along with Sophie Blain in wing defence, stretched that lead to 16 by half-time.
Both sides made a raft of line-up changes to start the second half, with Cobden reaping the rewards.
While the Saints rued some missed shots on goal, the Bombers' lightning quick transition up the court saw goal shooter Emily Finch and Hinkley feast in the circle to stretch the Bombers' lead to 29 by the final change.
With the result all but certain, the Bombers used the final quarter to test some different partnerships, with Emily Finch a rare sight on the bench and sister Jaymie (a goal attack) taking over at goal shooter.
"When you've got a lead, it's great to look at some options because you never know what's going to happen," McNamara said. "Jaymie being a little bit shorter and a bit more dynamic as a goal shooter really opens up that moving circle rather than that holding option."
Cobden's win sets up a 2022 grand final rematch with South Warrnambool in the 2023 edition.
McNamara said the Bombers would be up for the challenge of playing the Roosters who have been the competition's most consistent and dominant team this year.
"We've got nothing to lose," she said. "Based off last week (semi-finals), there is a lot of learnings to take out of that game, we've reviewed the footage and are moving on and we've hopefully got a few more things to address and bring to the table to make it a more competitive game."
Koroit co-coach Kerri Jennings said she was proud of her team to finish the home-and-away season third and make a preliminary final.
"They're all so young and there is so much to work for," she said. "They're out there playing a preliminary final and they're 14, 15, 16, 17 (years old).
"The future of Koroit is really bright.
"To finish in the top three, we're just so proud of the girls."
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